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Infinisource to add 30 jobs in Coldwater

The story of Infinisource has been one of change and growth since its beginnings in 1986. The latest move sees it growing in place in Coldwater.

Infinisource has extended for five years its lease in the Roosevelt Building, 15 E. Washington St., in Coldwater. The new lease will make it possible for 30 jobs to be added immediately there. That will bring the staff in Coldwater to 175 and the company says it anticipates further growth.

Infinisource has spent over $1 million in updates and improvements to the interior of the Roosevelt Building since it moved in 10 years ago, completely renovating everything but the outer walls and foundation.

The company's roots trace back to helping companies comply with COBRA law. It moved into services such as payroll, time and attendance, benefits administration, and other products and services used in human resources. To reflect those moves the company changed its name from COBRA Compliance Systems, Inc. to Infinisource in 2003.

In 2011, Infinisource and technology innovator America OnShore merged and the two began to offer their services in the Cloud as a Software as a Service company.  A year later Infinisource added Qqest, a growing provider of time and attendance solutions.

Infinisource now has 400 employees and locations in Charlotte, NC; Sandy, UT; and Coldwater. It serves 63,000 business customers.

“We are very excited to expand our employment footprint in Coldwater because the talent we find in the region matches well with our core values and culture," says Dave Dawson, Chief Executive Officer. "Infinisource accomplishes our vision every day through the courage, curiosity and hard work of our employees.  We strive to be a workplace where employees are valued, listened to and provided opportunity for growth.”

Source: Julie Smith,  Infinisource, Inc.

Find out what a lender wants to know about your business

If you've been wondering what it takes to get financing to start a new business or expand an existing one the opportunity to learn is coming up.

The Michigan Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Southwest Region is hosting the SBA Meet the Lender Event, from 9 a.m. to noon, Thursday, April 24 at the Kinexus office at 499 W. Main Street in Benton Harbor.

More than 20 commercial lenders, loan guarantors, and service organizations will be there to answer questions. Business owners are encouraged to talk with more than one of the lending institutions that will be present.

Attendees should plan to meet with  Kinexus SBDC Business Consultant Bob Jones for one-on-one counseling before the event to ensure all business plans and financials are in order.

The forum is designed to help entrepreneurs understand what lenders look for when they are making investment decisions. Business owners will have the opportunity to evaluate their pitch and find out how to improve it if they are struggling to find funding for additional growth.

“In this environment it is important that business owners speak with more than one lending institution when looking for funding,” says Brian Picarazzi, senior area manager for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), which sponsors the event.  

There is no cost to attend, however, registration is required. Contact Jones at jonesb@kinexus.org or (269) 927-1064, extension 1148 to register. In the past year, Jones has helped successfully open 19 small businesses and is currently working with an 80 additional clients.

Other resources also will be available at the event, including representatives from SCORE, the Women’s Business Center, and the Michigan State University Extension.

Source: Betsy Loeks, Kinexus

Sangren Hall gets more applause for eco-friendly design

Sangren Hall on the Western Michigan University campus is in the news again, this time for its ranking as one of the 50 most impressive environmentally friendly university buildings.

The building came in at 33 on the list created by Best Master's Degrees, a website devoted to helping students choose a master's program.

The list included university buildings from around the world. They range from a university science lab in Pittsburgh made of 94 percent recycled materials to a park-like, six-story, underground university building in Seoul, South Korea.

The list's creators say they looked for structures that "reflect leadership in sustainability and also have significant visual impact." Many of the projects featured have earned a formal green rating from one agency or another, plus other coveted design awards.

The selected buildings that were "hand-picked for their eco-friendly features including engineering, architecture, design and qualities of sustainability. Environmentally sound university buildings typically consume far less energy and afford better sanitary conditions than older buildings," says Best Master's Degiree editor Marianna Chara.  

Putting up such a building on campus "shows outstanding long-term thinking and has the potential to enrich the lives of students and the surrounding community in profound ways," says the website. They also hope the list inspires other universities to consider such projects.

Sangren Hall is 230,000-square-foot building with four floors of classrooms, labs, lecture halls, and administrative facilities. It has an education library, a reading clinic, and a counseling clinic.

The $69-million project, which began with the demolition of the south wing of the old Sangren Hall in the summer of 2010, was completed in August 2012. Classes began fall semester, 2012 in the new Sangren Hall.

The building was designed by SHW Group, LLC from Berkley, Mich., and was constructed by contractor Miller-Davis Company.

"These universities are showing themselves to be leaders when it comes to beauty and sustainability on campus," says Chara. "The value to students can be tremendous."

Source: Marianna Chara, Best Master's Degrees 

Employee fitness center renovations complete at Eaton Corp.

What once was a conference room and office space at Eaton's Galesburg location is now a new 1,800-square-foot employee fitness center. Owen-Ames-Kimball Co. renovated the space as its first project completed by its new Kalamazoo office.

Eaton had a fitness center on its campus in a location with less space. Architectural and engineering first Byce & Associates conducted a feasibility study and the decision was made to locate a new fitness center inside a 248,000-square-foot building along I-94.

The new fitness center was built to provide more space, easier access for employees, abundant daylight and room for new state-of-the-art fitness equipment. The center also features new locker rooms and restrooms for employees.

The project went forward using sustainable construction practices. Existing light and mechanical systems were used. Carpet, light fixtures, and ductwork were salvaged.

"The experience and cooperation from both O-A-K and Byce & Associates made the fast-paced job go extremely smooth," says Mike Galloway, of Eaton Corp.

Owen-Ames-Kimball Co. opened its office in Kalamazoo in November, 2013 with a staff of three. Since then it has added three employees and expects to continue hiring in coming months.

"The community has been very welcoming," says Tom Stanek, Director of Kalamazoo Operations for O-A-K. "Working with Eaton was a great way to kick off what we expect to be a bright future in Southwest Michigan."

Owen-Ames-Kimball Co., an employee-owned company, was founded in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1891. The company oversees a wide range of construction projects within the commercial, educational, industrial markets.

Source: Rachael Martemucci, Owen-Ames-Kimball

Edgewater Automation adds fabrication division

Edgewater Automation has purchased the assets of the fabrication division of Vickers Engineering, including a 44,000-square-foot plant in Buchanan.

The acquisition will allow Edgewater Automation to expand its manufacturing capabilities as the company continues to grow. There currently are five employees at the Buchanan facility and Edgewater is recruiting 12 more. Right now, the company has 96 employees across its four locations. 

Edgewater Automation originally moved into its 10,000-square-foot facility in St. Joseph in 2001, expanded to 24,000-square-feet in 2004, and added another 15,000 square feet in 2007. It built a 5,000-square-foot addition in 2013 for a total of 44,000 square feet. Edgewater Automation also purchased a 45,000 square foot facility in Spartanburg, South Carolina in 2013 to better serve customers in the Southeast region.

Vickers Engineering was instrumental in providing Edgewater Automation with equipment, know-how, and space for the latest expansion. Edgewater has put in place a team to provide complete fabrication and manufacturing capabilities in Buchanan.

“This was a big step for our company, and feel this will be a perfect fit for our new operations,” says Rick Blake, founder and president of Edgewater Automation.

Vickers Engineering was instrumental in providing Edgewater Automation with equipment, know-how, and space for the new expansion.

Vickers Engineering officials says the moves allows them to focus on precision machining. “It’s a win for all parties: Vickers, Edgewater, and the city Buchanan,” says Matt Tyler, president of Vickers Engineering.

Cars started Edgewater Automation on its road to success, but Edgewater has turned to other areas to grow and thrive. Medical devices, solar and alternative energy and batteries have all been growth areas for the company that has been featured three times on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing companies in America.

Source: Seth Vander Ark, Edgewater Automation

PACE program for seniors expands to Van Buren County

A service available to the elderly in Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, and St. Joseph now will be offered to those in Van Buren County.

Program for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly--PACE--is designed to help older adults stay out of the nursing home as long as is feasible. In a day care setting it offers comprehensive medical and social services for those who are eligible for Medicare and Medicade benefits. In-home services also are offered.

Many of those who participate in the program typically see their stay in the home extended by four to six years beyond those not in such a program. Due to the nature of the health of those admitted to the program, however, some must go to nursing homes sooner than that -- about 8 percent of participants are ultimately referred to nursing homes.

Through PACE, participants receive services provided by staff in 12 different disciplines. Medical specialists such as those in audiology, dentistry, optometry, podiatry, and speech therapy are all provided at the center. Home health care and personal care also are part of the program as needed. Transportation to doctor's visits also can be arranged.

Likely candidates who could benefit from the PACE model of care include those who are having difficulty managing appointments, finances, medications and health conditions. Often, PACE participants have declining ability to perform duties such as meal preparation, housework, or transportation, and an increased need for assistance with bathing, dressing, and moving around their home. They often also experience an increase in falls and visits to the ER or urgent care.

PACE services currently are being offered by CentraCare in Kalamazoo at 445 W. Michigan Ave. and in St. Joseph at 2900 Lakeview Ave. Seniors in Van Buren county can receive care at these centers.

CentraCare, Inc., a non-profit community corporation has managed a PACE program in Battle Creek since 2009. It opened in Kalamazoo in March 2013. PACE of Southwest Michigan opened its doors in September of 2012 and is a community partnership between Lakeland Healthcare, Hospice at Home, and Area Agency on Aging.

Those with eastern Van Buren County zip codes have been approved for service in Kalamazoo. Those in western Van Buren County are approved to attend the PACE center in St. Joseph. Those living in Grand Junction (49056), Lawton (49065), Marcellus (49067) and Paw Paw (49079) are served by both.

"The idea behind sharing a few key zip codes is to provide a choice for people whose health care patterns naturally take them east or west. For instance, if all your doctors or family are in the St. Joseph/Benton Harbor area, you may choose PACE of SW Michigan. If your specialists are located in Kalamazoo, CentraCare may be your choice,” says Therese Saggau, Executive Director of PACE of SW Michigan. "The split zip codes also ensure appropriate drive times for each participant to attend the day center.”

For those in a PACE program the length of hospitals stays for acute care are significantly below the national average. And the 30-day hospital readmission rates for PACE participants is less than 5 percent compared to 22 percent for similar patients.

"We know from experience the PACE approach works. Nothing improves medical outcomes and quality of life for frail older adults wishing to remain in the community as well as PACE," says Saggau. "PACE of SW Michigan and CentraCare look forward to offering this unique model of care to Van Buren residents."

Source: PACE of Southwest Michigan

New company says let us be your designated driver

A first offense for driving under the influence of alcohol can mean jail time, a suspended license and up to six point on your license, plus fines and costs. Guardian Drivers asks, Why risk it?

The new company based in Paw Paw was started to help drivers and their cars get home safely in such situations. And that is only one of the driving services they provide.

John Price, owner of Guardian Drivers LLC got the idea for the company after being injured in a car accident involving a drunk driver.  Price worked closely with Small Business Development Center Consultant Bob Jones of Kinexus to get Guardian Drivers on the road.

"One of the main reasons people drive intoxicated is because they need their vehicle the next morning," says Price. "No one wants to leave a vehicle stranded and with our service they don’t have to."

Licensed, professional drivers can help customers get home from a favorite bar, restaurant or golf course. They will make pick ups at sporting events and business sponsored events.

Rides start at $35 a piece, extra stops are $5 each and mileage is $2 per mile after the first 10 miles. Rides also can be booked at $30 an hour for a three-hour minimum for such events as a pub crawl, brewery tour, and bachelor or bachelorette parties.

Rides to medical appointments, weddings, bridal parties and other occasions are available.

Customers set up an appointment for a ride an hour before they are ready to leave. Guardian Driver Service dispatches a team of drivers to the location. The team will call or text the customer half-an-hour before they arrive. When they get to the location they will make sure the rider has insurance and registration, will ask him or her to sign a log giving them permission to drive the car, then take the rider to the spot requested.

More information on Guardian Drivers is available here.

Source: Guardian Drivers

Westminster Art Festival explores care for the Earth

The connection between human beings and the natural environment is on display at the Westminster Art Festival.

The exhibition, Earthcare: Reconcile, Restore, Rejoice, is currently up at at 1515 Helen Street in Westminster Presbyterian Church, which has been transformed into a spacious  gallery.

The public is invited to view the artwork from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. every weekday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and 1 to 3 p.m. on Sundays through April 22, Earth Day.

On Earth Day awards there will be an awards ceremony for the juried exhibition. Members of the public will have a last chance to cast ballots in the People’s Choice Award from 4 to 6 p.m. and from 7 to 9 p.m. there will be a reception and program of music with the Jubilee Trio and selected singers led by the church’s pianist and Music Director, Marie Kertsetter.

At the closing event, Juror Paul Mergen, MFA and Professor Emeritus of Western Michigan University, will announce Grand Prize of $1,000 and Honorable Mention Award of $500 for the pieces submitted by adult artists that best capture the spirit of Earthcare. The Westminster Art Festival Committee Prize of $200, the People’s Choice Award of $500, as well as the theme for next year’s exhibition will also be announced.

Art Festival Committee representatives say they were thrilled to see how the topic of the Earthcare appealed to so many artists, young and old alike. The number of entries from children doubled from last year, says Lynn MacFarlen, artist and committee member.

"I think our young people are really concerned about the health of our planet and the harm we have done," says Lynn MacFarlen. "Restoration of the earth is their future."  

As a congregation, Westminster is an environmentally focused church, which has recently been recognized within the denomination as an "Earth Care congregation," the second Presbyterian congregation so designated in Michigan.  Co-pastors Janet and Jerry Duggins say the show embodies the core values of their congregation: inspired worship, compassionate service, a celebration of the arts and music and a commitment to the environment.  

The exhibition’s theme also fostered collaboration among many community organizations including the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo, the Douglass Community Center, the Boys and Girls Club, and the Kalamazoo Nature Center, which offered a program on recycling, "Trash Talk," at the show’s opening.  

"Getting all these groups to work together actually happened with relative ease," say Jerry Duggins. "As we made our initial outreach efforts to these groups and the artists, it became clear to me that the greater Kalamazoo community wants tangible opportunities to participate in the environmental movement. The Westminster Festival does that. We are called to support the health of our environment, here in our own backyards and in a global sense."

Source: Westminster Art Festival

Renovated East Hall will use some salvaged materials from the building

The fireplace salvaged from North Hall, a ballroom with a seating capacity of 180, historically correct light fixtures and a lobby and public area that reinforce the building's current orientation are all part of the final plans for the redevelopment of East Hall on the Western Michigan University campus.

Wings on both sides of the building also have been added to the final plans to retain the existing look and feel of the building. Architects from TowerPinkster presented the final design for the new WMU Alumni Center March 25.

Construction will make use of salvaged materials, locally sourced new materials and incorporate geothermal heating. The aim is to obtain LEED Platinum certification for the building, the highest level.

Bricks similar to those on the original structure, possibly those salvaged from the south end of East Hall will be used on the two small wings of the building. External site plans call for preserving the center part of the North Hall portico to become a landscape focal point.

"The additions will be carried out in a way that feels more balanced and in keeping with the original," says TowerPinkster's Jason Novotney, who outlined the changes and final design.

The building's interior spaces will be heavily devoted to WMU's history. Alumni and community members are invited to help by sharing their personal stories about East Hall and WMU.

"If I think of East Hall as a sacred place, and I do, the best way to capture that spirit is through storytelling," says Jim Thomas, WMU vice president for development and alumni affairs whose units will be housed in the new center. "We need to get the very best stories to rotate through the building in years to come."

Source: Cheryl Roland, Western Michigan University

For more information, or to share stories about campus life or East Hall, visit here

Can-Do Kitchen needs your gadgets

Cleaning out the kitchen and contributing to the Can-Do Kitchen has to be the definition of a win-win, right?

From now until May 2, the Can-Do Kitchen is collecting kitchen gadgets to sell at its third annual Kitchen Gadget Garage Sale.

"If you have spring fever, are about to throw open the storm windows, and clean out your cupboards, look no further," says Lucy Dilley, program manager. "You can donate your kitchen utensils, gadgets, and tools to the Can-Do Kitchen and forget about trying to organize that garage sale that never seems to happen."

Funky, gently used or new utensils, bowls, pots, pans, small appliances, cookbooks, dishes, glasses, and linens are all the kinds of gadgets needed for the sale. Upscale items are appreciated and will be priced to get more bang-for-the-fundraising-buck.

Gadgets are being collected in three locations: at the Can-Do Kitchen, 511 Harrison, from 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday; Beer & Skittles, 1912 Whites Road; and the new Sarkozy's bakery, 350 E. Michigan.

Marked bins are available in each location.

The Can-Do Kitchen, is a food business incubator and commercial kitchen that creates a low-risk environment in which entrepreneurs can test products and find out if they are committed to business ownership.

The program is currently working with seven new entrepreneurs who received scholarships to assist them in bringing new local products to the marketplace. The facility is also available by rent for cooking classes.

Since 2008, the Can-Do Kitchen, a program of Fair Food Matters, has supported more than 75 small food businesses and increased the availability of foods made locally with local ingredients. 

Pilobolus brings its dance changing work to Kalamazoo

Since its beginnings in 1971 Pilobolus has, as the group says, created diverse collaborations that challenge the way we think about dance.

Or as Newsday put it: "Pilobolus is a mind-blowing troupe of wildly creative and physically daring dancers who leap, fly, intertwine and break all the rules..."  

The group will have various performances in Kalamazoo April 14 and 15. Pilobolus is a globally-renowned dance organization whose activities include touring companies; educational programming; and movement services for film, advertising, commercial clients, and corporate events.

The original company, Pilobolus Dance Theater, has been touring its 115 pieces of repertory to more than 64 countries over the last 42 years.

The company has appeared on the Oscars, Oprah, Late Night with Conan O'Brien and was a 2012 Grammy nominee for the interactive music video it created with OK Go and Google Chrome Japan, All Is Not Lost. Recently, Pilobolus was honored as the first collective to receive the Dance Magazine Award, which recognizes artists who have made lasting contributions to the field.

While in Kalamazoo, thousands of area kindergarten through eighth grade students will see the group at Miller Auditorium in a performance presented in partnership with Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency’s Education for the Arts program school performances.

There also will be master classes led by Pilobolus company members for Western Michigan University and Education for the Arts dance students at 2 p.m. Monday, April 14 in the Multimedia Room at Dalton Center on WMU’s campus. Members of the public are welcome to watch this special master class event.  

Pilobolus will perform at Miller Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 15. Tickets are on sale now at (269) 387-2300, online and in person at the Miller Auditorium Ticket Office.

Source: Miller Auditorium

WMU in the running for Climate Leadership Award

Update April 16, 2014: Western Michigan University is currently leading the people's choice portion of the competition to receive a naitonal Climate Leadership Award. With 8,918 votes at Second Wave's deadline, WMU is leading the next closest competitor, University of Massachusetts Amherst's 8,585 votes. 

Sustainability efforts at Western Michigan University have been ongoing for 30 years, or as a new video detailing those efforts puts it, before building a sustainable campus was cool.

As the video continues those watching will learn WMU was the first university to establish a quasi-green revolving fund to pay for energy-saving projects. It has reduced its energy consumption by 15 percent at the same time its square footage has expanded by 19 percent. It has accomplished a CO2 reduction of 281 million pounds--the equivalent of adding 3.2 million trees to the planet or removing 26,000 vehicles from the roads. As important, WMU is committed to infusing sustainability across the curriculum.

Solar arrays, electric vehicles, food and gardening, and storm water management are other  initiatives featured in the video that is part of WMU's bid to receive a national Climate Leadership Award.

The university is one of four finalists in the competition sponsored by Second Nature, a national nonprofit that seeks to create a sustainable society by transforming higher education, and Planet Forward, an initiative that uses media, teaching and bringing people together to deal with some of society's greatest challenges.

The Climate Leadership Award program features a public, online voting component. Voting is open now through April 15 in the competition. People can vote once a day. The other three schools in the running for top honors among doctorate-granting institutions are the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, University of North Texas and Ohio State University.

The Second Nature Board of Directors will choose the award winner in WMU's category as well as the winners in four other collegiate categories that are based on higher education Carnegie classifications.  Winners will be announced in late spring.

"We've been committed to sustainability for a very long time, and we have a record of significant accomplishments," says WMU President John M. Dunn. "This honor is an acknowledgement of our past work, our current initiatives and our commitment to the future. It's about the culture of sustainability we're building on campus and in our community."

Source: Cheryl Roland, Western Michigan University

For more information about WMU's sustainability initiatives, see the website or contact the Office for Sustainability at wmu-sustinability@wmich.edu or (269) 387-0947.

Businesses can get help with money to hire interns

Small business owners who have always wanted to hire an intern have an opportunity to do that if their business is a place students can learn science, technology, engineering or math. Southwest Michigan businesses now can obtain funding to hire Western Michigan University student interns thanks to the school's participation in a statewide network.

WMU is part of MCRN, a network designed to create partnerships that will connect Michigan's corporations to assets at state universities, to help promote innovative research, and grow Michigan's economy.

This is the third year WMU has participated in the program. During the first two years, the University's Business Connection had $25,000 to award--enough for eight to 10 internships.

The success of the program at WMU led to a boost in available funds. This year there are $35,000, which will fund 12 to 14 internships.

The network's small business Internship Award Program will provide up to $2,800 in matching funds for a company to hire an intern for either the summer or fall. Student interns are to be employed at the recommended rate of $10 to $14 per hour.

"This program provides matching funds to help small businesses in STEM fields hire WMU students to work on projects that are both beneficial to the company and academically relevant to students," says Lisa Garcia, director of WMU's Business Connection.

Companies may apply for the funds online by downloading a 2014 application hereApplications for this summer are due by April 15. Fall applications must be submitted by May 15. For more information about the program, contact Lisa Garica at lisa.garcia@wmich.edu or call (269) 387-0950.

Source: Cheryl Roland, Western Michigan University

Meijer new site for Bronson's FastCare, help for minor conditions

When suffering from pink eye or a host of other conditions a trip to Meijer at 5121 S. Westnedge Ave. in Portage may not be your first thought, but Bronson wants to change that.

Beginning April 1, Bronson FastCare will bring basic health care services to the retailer. Medical care for minor conditions and symptoms will be offered. Some that can be treated are sore throats, fevers, flu and colds, ear and sinus infections, pink eye, skin rashes and allergies. Lab services are available for pregnancy tests, monospots, rapid strep and urinalysis. (For a full list of treatments and lab services, visit here.)

"Bronson FastCare is a great new resource that serves everyone regardless of whether or not they have insurance or their own primary care doctor," says says John Jones, Jr., Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Bronson Medical Practices. "It is designed to help all people who have minor health concerns get the care they need quickly, affordably and with maximum convenience."

The FastCare model of clinics inside a retail establishment was pioneered by Belin Health in 2006. The clinics have a well-defined and limited scope of clinical services, a system for referring patients to physicians when symptoms exceed the clinic’s scope of services, and integration of electronic medical records. They also develop treatment plans that are based on the evidence before them.

Bronson FastCare takes walk-in patients only, but waits are expected to be non-existent or minimal. Should there be a delay, silent pagers are available for use in the store to alert the patient when the provider is ready.

The FastCare clinic is open to everyone. Care is provided by licensed nurse practitioners and physician assistants. They work under the guidance of emergency medicine physicians with Southwestern Michigan Emergency Services, the same group that staffs the emergency departments at Bronson hospitals in Battle Creek, Kalamazoo and Paw Paw.

A report following each visit can be sent to a patient’s primary care doctor. If a patient arrives with symptoms that exceed the scope of services, the patient will be referred to another Bronson facility that can handle that condition.

The service accepts most insurance plans and office visit co-pays apply. For those with a high deductible plan or no insurance, a visit is $69, including lab service.

"At Bronson, we are always looking for ways to improve access to healthcare services,” says Jones. "That means making sure we are doing all we can to provide the right care, in the right place, at the right time."

Source: Candice Elders, Bronson 

MEDC says Battle Creek, Kalamazoo ready for redevelopment evaluation

Battle Creek and Kalamazoo are two of 17 communities statewide chosen to participate in program that assesses economic development practices.

Planning and development policies will be evaluated as part of a program offered by the Michigan Economic Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) There is no cost to the community to participate.

The program is intended to give each community a "sound foundation for redevelopment and investment to occur," says the MEDC. This involves planning for new investment, identifying assets and opportunities and focusing resources.

Participants receive detailed information on evaluation criteria and examples of steps to take to accomplish certification requirements.

The program, Redevelopment Ready Communities, offers an assessment of a community's policies by an outside source. Community and economic development practices are compared to best practice standards.

The program measures and then certifies communities if their programs are transparent, predictable and efficient. The RRC certification is a formal recognition that a community has a vision for the future and the fundamental practices in place to get there.

This was the second competitive application round since the MEDC launched the program. More than 65 communities requested access to the 2014 competitive application.

"It’s an important resource that helps communities review their practices to foster vibrant places where businesses and talent want to be," says said MEDC President and CEO Michael A. Finney. "Without strong communities, we can’t attract talent."

Source: Michigan Economic Development Corp.
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