By Michigan Works! West Central

GRAND RAPIDS – A new regional website will inform, educate and focus on efforts to increase West Michigan’s overall health and prosperity. The website, known as the West Michigan Prosperity Dashboard, was unveiled Friday morning during a special ceremony at Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids.

The Dashboard provides a single source to obtain key metrics in 34 different categories. Data is available on the dashboard on a regional or county basis.

The Dashboard tracks economic, environmental and social metrics in 13 counties, including Lake, Mason, Mecosta, Newaygo, Oceana and Osceola, which are counties also served by Michigan Works! West Central. Executive Director Paul Griffith is a member of the Dashboard advisory committee and was at Friday’s event.

“Until now, West Michigan lacked a common set of measurements to track these factors,” Griffith said. “Being able to go to one place to track things, like the average annual wage or the percentage of high school students graduating on time, is crucial in helping Michigan Works! West Central identify issues that may impact workforce development and other employment related needs, including funding.”

Other areas that make up the Dashboard’s region include Allegan, Barry, Ionia, Kent, Montcalm, Muskegon and Ottawa counties.

Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley was the guest speaker at Friday's ceremony. He lauded the collaboration among the regional partners to make the Dashboard a reality.

“It’s not an accident that this area has the type of economic performance that we’re seeing. It’s because you’re working together, planning for the future and not leaving your destiny to somebody else,” Calley said to the crowd of more than 100.

“The unveiling of the Dashboard is a big step, because it’s really a statement to the world that this region has very clearly articulated priorities. … If you look at what’s being measured, you can get a sense for the things that this region really cares about and wants to be held accountable for to their residents. This will make a big difference over time.”

To access the West Michigan Prosperity Dashboard go to www.wmdashboard.org.