Greater Grand Rapids is the fastest-growing region in Michigan, known for innovative companies and an unrivaled quality of life. Partners for Livable Communities recently named Grand Rapids as one of the best places to live in America, based on a number of factors from academics and healthcare to culture and recreation. Once known as “Furniture City,” this area is emerging as a center for advanced manufacturing and life sciences firms. The city of Grand Rapids has recently partnered with the Van Andel Research Institute and Grand Valley State University to launch the West Michigan Science and Technology Initiative, an institute that will continue to drive technology and product development and provide incubator space for biotechnology companies. The Van Andel Research Institute is a world-class research facility focusing on the genetic and molecular origins of cancer.

Located in the heart of the Midwest near the eastern shores of Lake Michigan, the riverfront city of Grand Rapids boasts some of the world’s highest per capital expenditures in education and research and development. The region’s prowess is so evident that Grand Rapids ranks with global leaders like Boston, Hartford, and San Francisco on the list of Top Ten Sustainable, Knowledge-Based Economies.


State-of-the-art healthcare services and facilities are available throughout the metropolitan area, anchored by highly respected hospitals that keep Grand Rapids at the top nationally for medical centers of excellence. Leading health systems are playing important roles in the expansion and advancement of healthcare. Spectrum Health recently opened a state-of-the-art cardiovascular center and a multi-million dollar cancer center as well as an expanded children’s hospital. Saint Mary’s Health Care and Metro Health manage two other well-integrated healthcare provider networks. The Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital is another valuable component of expert care, assisting patients with recovery from accidents, injuries, or illnesses through inpatient and outpatient therapies and evaluation clinics. Michigan Medical is the largest physician owned multi-specialty group in western Michigan and one of the largest physician partnerships in the state. Skilled professionals in private or group practice are available in every specialty and nearly all subspecialties.

Newcomers to Greater Grand Rapids will be impressed by the quality of the educational system, with award-winning public and private schools available on every academic level. From preschool through graduate and professional schools, this region offers easy access to expertly managed learning environments including technical and vocational training. Nearly two dozen regional colleges and universities bring higher education close to home. Grand Valley State University in Allendale offers a public university just 12 miles west of Grand Rapids, although classes are also offered at the Grand Rapids Pew Campus and the Meijer Campus in Holland. Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo consistently ranks among the nation’s top 100 public universities, and Michigan State University in Lansing offers many nationally ranked programs of study. Ferris State University in Big Rapids offers the resources of a large public university in a small-town setting in Big Rapids, and Central Michigan University maintains a campus in Mount Pleasant. CMU also manages an extensive online program and 60 centers across the state including one in Grand Rapids. Private colleges in this region include Aquinas College, Calvin College, Cornerstone University, Davenport University, ITT Technical Institute, the Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University, Spring Arbor University, and the University of Phoenix. For an affordable start on a four-year degree as well as two-year programs and continuing education, Grand Rapids Community College maintains its main campus on eight blocks of downtown Grand Rapids. Off-campus learning centers and technical education centers expand the reach of this award-winning college.

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