Points of View

Seeing and Believing in a Better West Michigan

Kevin Stotts

Like the region it serves, Talent 2025 has always set its sights on a better future.

 

We envision a West Michigan where robust education and employment opportunities are available for everyone. Where employers have access to some of the finest talent resources in the country. Where we set the standards to which other regions aspire – in quality of life, talent development, and equitable economic prosperity.

 

We see these as more than vague ambitions – they are very real outcomes and we have a plan to pursue them. We’re measuring our progress. And we’ve given ourselves a deadline to get there.

 

That is the West Michigan way.

 

Knowing where we are going

Ask any of the business leaders on our CEO Council how they pursue success, and they will tell you the process begins with a vision for what needs to be accomplished.

 

This is what Talent 2025 will present for our region this spring when it issues a comprehensive vision report for our workforce system.

 

Months in the making, the report is based on extensive research and data analysis, resource mapping through regional and national scans of best practices, and interviews and surveys of more than 60 West Michigan thought leaders. We sought insight from leaders in business, education, workforce development, social services and philanthropy.

 

The report seeks to define the key components and alignments of a best-in-class workforce system that draws from leading practices identified locally, nationally and through the insight of stakeholders already doing this work.

 

We’re thankful to all who contributed their invaluable insights for this report. Your commitment to building a better West Michigan is inspiring.

 

A vision of hope

What we found in our research was an overwhelming spirit of collaboration, a willingness in every sector to work together in a common cause. We are not alone in recognizing this: Outside researchers have taken note of the progress made possible here through a legacy of cooperation and hard-working innovation.

 

This may be West Michigan’s greatest advantage in its quest to become a top 20 employment region by the year 2025.

 

In fact, the research was convincing that now, more than ever, it is the time to leverage our advantages. We have an opportunity to build on our success and elevate our region as a national center for development and refinement of best practices in workforce development.

 

Going from good to great

Six years from our target of becoming top-20 employment region, we are demonstrating progress. But West Michigan did not get where it is today by settling for being good. We are on a quest to become great.

 

Just as our region always has always done, Talent 2025 is prepared to set a higher standard for our workforce system. We are measuring ourselves not just against similar regions in size, but against the top employment centers of our nation.

 

This will require a sense of urgency and commitment across multiple sectors in the 13-county area to work in concert, aligning their efforts in support of one another. Every stakeholder has a role to play.

 

We’re looking forward to sharing this report with the community and continuing the discussion about how we capitalize on our success and keep moving forward.

 

The vision is clear, and success is in sight.

 

What is your vision for West Michigan? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.