All regional councils in Michigan are involved, to various degrees, in economic development. In fact, it was in response to a federal initiative in economic development that the regional planning and development regions in Michigan were created in the late 1960s through an executive directive of the governor. Economic development remains a very important program for regional councils in Michigan. While the degree of involvement in economic development varies from region to region, some of the major programs managed by councils include the following:
Most of the regional councils in Michigan are designated Economic Development Districts (EDD) by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration (EDA). A major responsibility under this program is the preparation and implementation of the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS), a regional economic development plan that serves as the blueprint for the region’s economic development. Economic Development Districts play an important role in assisting local communities with the implementation of economic development infrastructure projects.
- Some regional councils administer and manage revolving loan funds for business development in their respective regions, and provide business counseling.
- All regional councils have an extensive database of economic data and information that is a valuable tool in economic development.
- Regional councils in Michigan are also corporate partners with the State of Michigan’s lead economic development agency, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).