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LEO Hosts First Ever Michigan Rural Prosperity Summit

Michigan Business Network
May 24, 2024 3:00 PM

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GAYLORD, Mich. – Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity’s (LEO) Office of Rural Prosperity hosted the first-ever Rural Prosperity Summit, bringing together a network of rural leaders and state and local government officials from across the state to learn about national and statewide trends, gain inspiration from rural Michigan community spotlights highlighting resilience, partnership, planning and capacity development.

susan-corbin_original"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," said Susan Corbin, LEO director (left). "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."

Talent attraction and retention was also featured during the summit’s ‘Young Rural Champions’ insights panel.

The Summit also focused on opportunities and strategies that build on the Roadmap to Rural Prosperity that was released earlier this year.

Sarah Lucas headshot Final“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,” said Sarah Lucas, director of LEO’s Office of Rural Prosperity (left). “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.”

Each section of the Roadmap highlights a priority issue area for rural Michigan, discussing the factors that impact rural prosperity and presents strategies to help all rural areas thrive. Strategies include:

  • Grow and diversify the workforce across sectors 
  • Improve individual health and economic well-being 
  • Support local and regional capacity to deliver services
  • Expand quality and attainable housing opportunities 
  • Build and maintain resilient infrastructure 
  • Enhance regionally driven and place-based economic development efforts 
  • Protect, conserve, and be a responsible steward of natural assets 

Presentations and panel discussions focused on national and statewide trends for rural communities and explored talent attraction and retention efforts through the ORPs’  Young Rural Champions insight group.

State leaders also engage in a moderated panel discussion about how state agencies are working to advance the collaborative and collective action needed to achieve prosperity across rural Michigan.

The Office of Rural Prosperity works across sectors to foster strategic and coordinated investments in people and places, with an intentional focus on building the capacity and resources necessary meet complex rural needs. Learn more at www.michigan.gov/ORP.


LEO Mission and Vision. Visit Michigan.gov/LEO to learn more.

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Michigan Business Network is an online broadcasting company that provides knowledge, news, and insights into Michigan’s businesses, industries, and economy.