: Special Message from John Austin: Introducing the Michigan Economic Center

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A Message from John Austin


Dear Friends and Colleagues,


For the last seven years, under the banner of the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy program, I directed the Great Lakes Economic Initiative (GLEI). GLEI is a partnership of the region’s civic, business, university, government, labor, and environmental communities that catalyzes economic transformation and change for the Great Lakes region. I am extremely proud of the vision we’ve advanced, and the work we’ve accomplished to help this region thrive in a global economy.

In addition to my ongoing work with the GLEI program, I will also be concentrating my focus on my home state of Michigan. I believe that by continuing collaborative partnerships with multi-sector leaders and citizens, we can work to advance the vision, smart policy ideas, and practical solutions that will grow our economy.

Because of this, I am excited to announce my role as Director of the new Michigan Economic Center at the Prima Civitas Foundation (PCF). The Michigan Economic Center will work with a network of state and local leaders and citizens to advance a vision for Michigan’s economic revitalization; provide policy ideas and solutions that realize the vision; and engage and support a diverse network of citizens, leaders, and organizations in advancing the vision.

To transform and grow our Great Lakes state, we must reanimate our historic role as a leading innovator – as the creator of America’s middle class and enabler of a distinctly Michigan version of the American Dream. To do so, Michigan must once again be the globally engaged center of innovation through leadership in the coming “Green” and “Blue” sustainable economies based on smart energy, water, and transportation; provide an “uncommon” education for the common person; and capitalize on our unique piece of real estate within the Great Lakes. Add to that the rich history and culture embodied in our great cities like Detroit and Grand Rapids, and we can make Michigan a uniquely attractive place for global citizens to live, work, and develop robust businesses.


Join in the work of the Michigan Economic Center



We invite you to join in the work of the newly launched Michigan Economic Center. Spread the vision, get involved in our projects, share your own ideas about the major directions for change, and support us in our collective work of renewing the “Michigan Dream.”





John Austin


The Michigan Economic Center at The Prima Civitas Foundation


303 Detroit St. Suite 400

Ann Arbor MI 48104



Follow me on Twitter: @John_C_Austin

About John Austin

John Austin is the elected President of the Michigan State Board of Education, Non-resident Senior Fellow with the Brookings Institute, and Visiting Faculty at University of Michigan.