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City selected to host development fellow for ‘21-22

By
JACKIE KOCH

The City of Tecumseh was chosen by the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan (CEDAM) as one of 10 communities to host a community development fellow for the 2021-2022 program year, which will bring an extra impact to support efforts to improve Tecumseh and promote the area.

Along with Hancock, Kalkaska, Cheboygan, Big Rapids, Bridgeport Charter Township, Flint, Lansing, Coldwater, and Ferndale, Tecumseh will benefit from the program to expand organizational capacity, increase local collaboration, and remove barriers to development.

Economic Development Director Jessica Sattler said that the city will look for someone with experience in economic development, community development, urban planning or zoning. “Anything to do with really understanding how community development as a whole is successfully completed,” she said.

The fellow will have a few major tasks, including some regarding an industrial and talent data study that was completed to better understand the strengths and growth areas in the region, as well as pockets of workforce talent. “Out of that study came seven different recommendations for how to grow our economic development efforts with respect to attracting new companies and helping local companies that are already here to expand. They will be working on those seven recommendations,” said Sattler.

The new Downtown Development Authority plan will be finalized, which will have  recommendations for projects that the fellow will work on, and a regional transportation effort currently in process will also be part of the fellow’s focus.

The selection process to hire the person for the fellowship will happen over the summer, with the fellow starting work in October. They will be employed full-time and will be compensated for their work, which will last a total of 15 months.

“I think it’s a huge honor to be one of only ten cities selected in the entire state, so that says a lot about where we’re at with respect to our forward thinking for economic development in the future of Tecumseh,” Sattler said. “We’re excited to be selected, and also, we’re excited to have the extra manpower, so to speak, and another set of ideas to help us roll out some of these new strategies that we’ve been investing in.”

This is the third cohort of CEDAM’s Community Development Fellowship, made possible with funding and partnership with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). The fellowship was created to help address a common challenge Michigan’s diverse communities face: a lack of sufficient capacity to achieve their economic development potential.

“Last year’s fellows made a significant impact, supporting vibrant, diverse, and resilient communities across Michigan. We are excited for ten new municipalities, participating in the Redevelopment Ready Communities program, to benefit from the fellowship,” said Michelle Parkkonen, managing director of technical assistance programs at MEDC.

Previous fellow projects include the creation of a Façade Grant Program, selecting and marketing sites for redevelopment, planning interactive events for community engagement, and much more. Between June – December 2020, the last cohort helped secure more than $368,000 in funding for communities.

“In addition to adding needed capacity for local municipalities, this program strengthens the pipeline of leaders in the community economic development field,” said Luke Forrest, executive director at CEDAM. “We’re excited to invest in emerging community builders through training, networking, and hands-on professional development opportunities.” 

CEDAM is a state-wide membership association for community economic development that supports and advocates for vibrant neighborhoods, economic opportunity, equitable development, and housing security. 

Once the job description for the position in Tecumseh is complete, candidates will be able to apply, and Sattler advised those interested to check the city’s website and Facebook page for announcements. Visit cedamichigan.org/fellowship for more information on the program.

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