Hello West Michigan Takes Home Two Awards for Excellence in Economic Development

GRAND RAPIDS — Back To Michigan, a collaborative, state-wide event spearheaded by Hello West Michigan and The Right Place, was awarded a Silver and Bronze ranking by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) at the Council’s 2021 annual conference.

Hello West Michigan convened the Back To Michigan Host Organization Committee, which came together during Covid to host Back To Michigan, a series of virtual career fairs for people interested in relocating to Michigan. The virtual event concept is based on ReThink West Michigan, the award-winning in-person event Hello West Michigan and The Right Place host on the night before Thanksgiving.

The Back To Michigan Host Organization Committee won Silver in the Regionalism and Cross-Border Collaboraion category. The Back To Michigan event series won Bronze in the Innovation Programs and Initiatives category.

“Our committee came together during Covid and consisted of a dozen host organizations, most of whom had never worked together or even met each other,” said Rachel Gray, Executive Director of Hello West Michigan. “Together, in collaboration with the State of Michigan, we organized an event series that resulted in over 2,000 registrants and multiple hires. The Back To Michigan Host Organization Committee is helping to alleviate one of the most critical challenges regions are facing right now: attracting talent.”

IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development Awards recognize the world’s best economic development programs and partnerships, marketing materials, and the year’s most influential leaders. 25 award categories honor organizations and individuals for their efforts in creating positive change in urban, suburban, and rural communities. Awards are judged by a diverse panel of economic and community developers, following a nomination process held earlier this year. IEDC received over 500 submissions from 4 countries.

“The winners of IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development awards represent the best of economic,” said 2021 IEDC Board Chair and Invest Buffalo Niagara, President, and CEO Tom Kucharski. “This year, more than ever, has presented opportunities to innovate, impact, and progress the cities, neighborhoods, and communities around us.”

For 2021, several regions are hosting both in-person and virtual events for Back To Michigan. West Michigan’s regional event, ReThink West Michigan, is on November 10 and November 24. Company registration is open now.