Welcome to SEMCOG's Think Regional/Act Local blog! SEMCOG is the only organization in Southeast Michigan that brings together all governments to solve regional challenges and enhance the quality of life for the seven-county regions 4.7 million residents. With this regional perspective in mind, we work with member local governments to sustain our regions reputation as a great place to work, play, and do business.


Our panel of SEMCOG staff bloggers will post daily to this blog, discussing SEMCOG's data, federal and state legislative issues, and environmental and fiscal sustainability best practices for local governments all with the goal of creating a successful future for the region.



Think Regional/Act Local

Congratulations to WCCCD for Expanding Access and Success in STEM Education!

(Collaboration) Permanent link


Reports from the Field...


October 28, 2014 - SEMCOG Member Wayne County Community College District (WCCCD), along with three Detroit-based postsecondary education institutions – University of Detroit Mercy, Wayne State University, and Marygrove College – is the recipient of a $21.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.


The partners formed the ReBUILD Detroit initiative to increase student enrollment from underrepresented and economically disadvantaged backgrounds pursuing careers in biomedical research. More than 50% of the 47,000 undergraduate students at these four institutions are underrepresented minorities and qualify for federal financial aid.


As the SEMCOG/MAC STEM Careers and Skilled Trades initiative found, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) are among the fastest-growing education pathways for career success in Southeast Michigan. This grant will help increase the number of students earning biomedical degrees in the region, provide research opportunities and mentoring for undergraduate students and networking opportunities and grant application assistance for graduate school students, and coordinate faculty research.


As George Swan, III, Vice Chancellor for External Affairs at WCCCD says, “Community colleges provide a critical point of entry into in-demand careers.” WCCCD has participated in a number of initiatives to expand the STEM pipeline for students in Detroit and the region, including the Step It Up America program to prepare Women of Color for high-demand IT sector jobs. This and many other programs to provide career exploration, improve math and science skills, and strengthen workplace readiness can be found in SEMCOG’s Best Practices Inventory.


WCCD 2014

At the grant announcement at the University of Detroit Mercy (l-r): Dr. George Swan, III, Vice Chancellor for External Affairs at WCCCD; Dr. Antoine M. Garibaldi, President, University of Detroit Mercy; Dr. Roy Wilson, President, Wayne State University; and Dr. David J. Fike, President, Marygrove College.




Naheed Huq
Naheed works with SEMCOG members on community and economic development and workforce issues. She coordinates the joint SEMCOG/MAC Talent Task Force, which develops policies and plans for creating the workforce needed for a changing economy. She also helps communities with strategic planning. Naheed has a Master's degree in Public Policy and Planning from the London School of Economics.

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ITC Trail opens in Canton Township

(Collaboration, Regionalism, Walkability bikeability) Permanent link


October 10, 2014 - Canton Township officially opened the Canton ITC Corridor Trail!


The grand opening completes nearly 15 years of hard work in creating this multi-use trail system. It all began with community input identifying more open spaces and trails as desired amenities. This most recent phase of Canton's multi-use trail was constructed on the International Transmission Company (ITC) corridor. Hikers, cyclists, and other nature lovers are now able to take advantage of these three additional miles of trails that connect the Lower Rouge Trail to both Flodin Park and Griffin Park.


Canton offers nearly 15 miles of nonmotorized pathways, connecting the Canton community and the region. Its multi-use trail system has many benefits to residents – e.g., increased physical activity, green space, and property values. The community also benefits. An example is the recent addition of two premier retail bicycle stores in Canton.


Projects like this are an important part of Southeast Michigan’s nonmotorized transportation system. SEMCOG’s nonmotorized plan will be presented to the General Assembly for adoption in November.


Several organizations contributed to developing these trails. Thanks to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Michigan Department of Transportation, International Transmission Company, and Wayne County.






Kajal Patel
Kajal has been with SEMCOG for over six years. She is responsible for updating and analyzing traffic crash data in Southeast Michigan. In addition, she develops messages and information about important regional transportation safety issues. Kajal also helps those wishing to start a Safe Routes to School program at their school with important data and other logistical support. Kajal works with communities to improve the safety and performance of community corridors and intersections via low-cost improvements. Kajal has a Master's degree in Civil Engineering from Wayne State University and is a licensed engineer for the State of Michigan.

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