MSU EDA University Center for

Regional Economic Innovation

E-Update | Novem 2022

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Call For 2023 Project Applications

The REI Innovation Fellows Program is seeking applicants to incorporate the tools, models, and policies identified in Co-Learning Projects, or new ideas, into practice in communities around Michigan. The Innovation Fellows program was established in 2016 to attract and support top champions in communities and organizations to tackle the tough economic development issues that our distressed communities face every day. Innovation Fellows provide on-the-ground support and coordination to move concepts to actions, implementing new economic development tools, models, and policies. These Fellowships are funded up to $10,000 through a competitive award process.


2022 Innovation Fellow and Chief Equity Officer at Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP), Tony Willis, focused on exploring communal and cooperative investment/business models, specifically worker-owner cooperatives and community investment trusts, that could be deployed in the Lansing region to combat economic instability. Willis stated that the fellowship "helped manifest ideas and concerns related to economic stability into proactive programing to build awareness about the need of succession planning for businesses, how worker owner cooperatives could be a great solution, and how Community Investment Trusts could be away to enhance local ownership and equity for distressed communities." Tony further stated, "I was also able to connect with some of the most knowledgeable, passionate, and connected individuals within economic development because of the programming REI/CCED held."


Visit the REI Application page to learn more on all projects (linked below) and to apply. The program deadline is December 12, 2022. Please contact Jenan Jondy at jondyjen@msu.edu for more information and to answer any questions. 



Learn More and Apply Now

Welcome Our New REI Research Assistant Jessa Sherrill

Jessa Sherrill is a Research Assistant for EDA’s University Center for Regional and Economic Innovation (REI). She is a graduate student currently enrolled in the Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) 4+1-degree program. Before graduating with her bachelor's degree, Jessa enrolled in her capstone course and worked directly with the Wayne County Land Bank to evaluate their program success while developing recommendations for the Land Bank. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning and a minor in Law, Justice, and Public Policy in May of 2022, she will work this year to finish her master’s program in May of 2023. Additionally, in May of 2022, Jessa chose to study abroad around Europe, focusing on urban redevelopment and equitable housing. She has just started her position as a research assistant for the REI team this fall (2022). Jessa is interested in sustainability and environmental justice, as well as how circular economies promote community development that is resilient and equitable. Jessa is also a member of the Urban and Regional Planning Student Association at MSU. 


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