LSPC Perspectives: Economic Development Never Sleeps
Posted by Lake Superior Community Partnership on December 14, 2022
It’s a busy time of year for all of us. From shopping and baking cookies to attending holiday parties and hustling to reach those year-end goals at work, economic development is likely the last thing on many people’s minds right now. But the good news is that the LSCP and our partners are always staying on top of the latest updates, providing support to our business and communities, and recognizing the area’s growing list of wins.
Speaking of wins, the LSCP is proud to be a participating partner in the recently awarded $550,000 Rural Innovation Stronger Economy (RISE) grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. One of only three RISE grants awarded in the nation – and the only one fully awarded in the requested amount – the grant will support in efforts to establish the Marquette Outdoor Venture (MOV) Innovation Center. That center will connect our natural advantage in the outdoor industry to earlier business phases of development and testing, especially around EV technology. Implementing the grant will be a big focus in 2023.
On the legislative front, the Michigan Legislature has wrapped up its 2022 “Lame Duck” session (a session that happens between election day and when newly elected officials begin in January). With a once-in-a-generation shift in power, there were some unknowns about what would take place during that session. However, it seems to have been quiet. From a business perspective, one of the biggest remaining issues is the impact of the summer court ruling on the minimum wage and sick leave law from 2018. Already expected increases will take place on January 1st for non-tipped workers, but the February 13th deadline from the court ruling looms, which would result in major increases at that time as well. We continue to monitor the case as it works its way through the court system for a final ruling.
Locally, the LSCP continues to receive orders for Love on Local cards, which makes it easy to keep your money local when purchasing goods and services for yourself or those on your list. As I wrote two weeks ago, $0.68 of every $1.00 you spend at a locally-owned business stays in the community, making it a win-win for us all. While we always encourage buying items or gift cards straight from the source, the Love on Local cards are a great backup. Since launching the program in June 2020, we’ve loaded over $375,000 onto more than 4,100 cards. It’s an impressive feat that’s only possible thanks to the incredible community support the program receives. The deadline for buying individual cards is December 16; you can visit www.marquette.org/loveonlocal to get your order in.
On the childcare front, the Marquette County Childcare Coalition announced the Childcare Home Business Incubator Pilot program. The pilot program is expected to start in February 2023 and is funded primarily with $100,000 from the American Rescue Plan Act as approved by the Marquette County Board of Commissioners. In addition, the pilot program will leverage funding from a variety of other sources including government, the business community and private philanthropy. The LSCP will be providing staff and operational support for the program which will help add childcare slots across the entire county.
On behalf of the entire LSCP team, we wish everyone a very happy holiday season. No matter how you spend the holidays, they are a time of meaning to so many of us. We look forward to an exciting 2023 year and can’t wait to continue the region’s positive momentum together.
By Christopher Germain, CEO of the LSCP writes a bi-weekly column for the Mining Journal.