Newly redesigned dashboard offers expanded indicators and updated data
GRAND RAPIDS, MICH (SEPTEMBER 20, 2018): West Michigan’s leading economic development, workforce development, and infrastructure leaders have launched a redesign of the West Michigan Regional Dashboard, an online tool that tracks the region’s progress on critical economic, environmental and social indicators.
The goal of the dashboard is to inform, educate, and focus regional strategies to increase West Michigan’s overall health and prosperity. Originally launched in February 2017, the dashboard created a common set of measurements by which to measure West Michigan’s growth and prosperity. Previously, there was no coordinated measurement tool for the region. Since its launch, the dashboard has already received almost 6,000 visitors.
The updated dashboard features a more user-friendly design and the latest available data. New indicators have been added to the dashboard, and several have been removed due to data quality issues. There are now a total of 37 indicators: 17 economic, 14 social and six environmental. All indicators are believed to fall within the sphere of influence of at least one regional partner organization or stakeholder.
New indicators added include:
- Prime working age population (25-54). Measures the strength of an economy and society, as this cohort generates most goods, services, earnings and tax revenue.
- Total number and value of small business loans. Represents the lending activity of local, regional, and national banks to growing West Michigan businesses.
- Percentage of jobs at young firms (0-5 years old). Demonstrates strength of the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
- Seasonal residential property tax base. Revenue from seasonal and secondary homes provides critical tax revenue for municipalities across the region.
- Eighth grade math level. An indicator of potential future poverty rates, as low math levels in eighth grade are tied with a higher likelihood of not completing high school.
- Housing affordability. Rent-burdened residents are more likely to have difficulty affording necessities like food, clothing, transportation and medical care.
The West Michigan Regional Prosperity Alliance, The Right Place, Inc.., and nine other regional organizations collaborated to identify these new indicators and update the dashboard. The initiative is funded and supported by the West Michigan Regional Prosperity Alliance.
The regional dashboard can be accessed online at www.wmdashboard.org.
About The West Michigan Regional Prosperity Alliance
The West Michigan Regional Prosperity Alliance (WMRPA) is one of 10 economic regions identified by Governor Rick Snyder to create vibrant regional economies. The 31-member WMRPA steering committee is composed of representatives from: regional transportation and planning, economic development, higher education, community development, adult education, workforce development, private business and philanthropic groups.
About The Right Place, Inc.
The Right Place, Inc., is a regional nonprofit economic development organization founded in 1985 and supported through investments from the private and public sector. Its mission is to promote economic growth in the areas of quality employment, productivity and technology in West Michigan by developing jobs through leading business retention, expansion and attraction efforts. For more information, visit:www.rightplace.org.