Our History

Wired and Mid-Michigan Focus

Prima Civitas was launched in 2006 by Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon as part of her “Boldness by Design” initiative. Our role was to more fully engage Michigan State University in the economic transformation in mid-Michigan by focusing on innovation, skill development, and regional collaboration.

The U.S. Department of Labor awarded Michigan two Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development (WIRED) grants to transform Michigan’s economy. The seven-county West Michigan WIRED grant had the advantage of a 10-year history of regional cooperation. The 13-county mid-Michigan awardees had no such history or experience of working together and quickly realized the effort required full time, professional management. Prima Civitas subsequently was hired to administer the mid-Michigan WIRED grant. Prima Civitas was also a facilitator of a volunteer Board called the “Mid-Michigan Innovation Team” (MMIT).

With assistance from partner Corporation for a Skilled Workforce, we were successfully awarded a grant from the C.S. Mott Foundation. Mott’s interest was in building a regional identity for the diverse 13-county region, and granted an award to organize the various elements of advanced manufacturing, healthcare, and entrepreneurship sectors.

Through these efforts, the healthcare and entrepreneurship sectors evolved into two key programs: M:PATH, a $2 million, three-year grant to train 400 dislocated workers over three years for careers in the growing Michigan healthcare industry, and Moving Ideas to Market, a C.S. Mott Foundation-funded initiative that worked toward entrepreneurial culture change.

In January 2011, we publicly announced our expansion from a mid-Michigan focused organization to a statewide focused organization.