Community stakeholders gather in Gaylord for Michigan's first-ever Rural Prosperity Summit

What’s happening: The first-ever Rural Prosperity Summit was held at the Treetops Resort in Gaylord on Monday, May 20. The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity’s (LEO) Office of Rural Prosperity hosted the event, attracting rural community leaders, state and local officials, and more.

What it is: The Rural Prosperity Summit featured expert-led talks and panel discussions examining statewide and national trends in rural community development, including a presentation from keynote speaker Tony Pipa, a senior fellow in the Center for Sustainable Development at Brookings, and a panel consisting of young rural leaders offering their insights into talent attraction and retention.

Why it’s important: "We want to make sure rural Michigan communities are involved in the state’s efforts to understand and address their needs and priorities, ensuring prosperity throughout rural Michigan," says Susan Corbin, LEO director. "By bringing together rural leaders, we can create synergy that will enhance support for our rural residents, workforce, and businesses, and raise awareness of the critical issues these communities face."

What was shared: Much of the Summit built on the Roadmap to Rural Prosperity report released by LEO and the Office of Rural Prosperity earlier this year. The report offers opportunities and strategies for rural community development. Highlights include expanding quality and attainable housing opportunities, protecting and conserving natural assets, growing and diversifying the workforce, and more.

Visit LEO online to view the Roadmap to Rural Prosperity.

What they’re saying: “The Office of Rural Prosperity is laying the groundwork to ensure rural communities have the resources they need to address complex challenges like housing shortages and health access,” says Sarah Lucas, director of LEO’s Office of Rural Prosperity. “By bringing together rural leaders from across the state to collaborate and utilize the Roadmap to Rural Prosperity as our foundation, we can support solutions to address a wide range of needs.”

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