Growth & Opportunity is about growing the economy in ways that create more opportunities for all people through strategies that simultaneously address:
Building on distinct regional assets in order to create and retain good jobs with long-term payoffs for people of all skill levels.
Preparing residents for current and future jobs through systems reform that promotes coordinated, employer-connected and sector-focused education and training.
Job Access Strengthening the connectivity between where people live and work through more efficient transit and social/spatial networks; promoting sustainable growth patterns that enable improved access to jobs in the future.
Why does Growth & Opportunity matter? What does it look like in practice? The Fund for Our Economic Future's newly released Growth & Opportunity: A Call to Action sets out to answer these questions. The purpose of the Call to Action is to encourage Northeast Ohio's public, private and civic sectors to adopt and support the Fund's three-tiered approach -- job creation, job preparation and job access -- to achieving economic growth that is rich in opportunities for all people.
While the examples in this publication are Northeast Ohio-specific, the Growth & Opportunity framework and the keys to strengthening and scaling job creation, job preparation and job access efforts are universal. Such efforts require an understanding that not all jobs are created equal; a diversified approach to assessing and preparing job candidates; and a renewed sense of place. The Fund hopes others will apply these lessons in their own communities.
To help illustrate why a Growth & Opportunity approach is imperative to sustaining Northeast Ohio's nascent economic recovery and how we might best execute it, the Fund enlisted the following individuals to share insight from the field:
Mark Schweitzer, senior vice president, director of research, and Kyle Fee, senior policy analyst, at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, provide a snapshot on the Northeast Ohio economy;
April Miller Boise, vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary of Veyance Technologies Inc., writes about creating economic opportunity through the creation of high-quality jobs;
Jill Rizika, executive director of Towards Employment, writes about creating economic opportunity through comprehensive career pathways; and
Jason Segedy, director of Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study (AMATS), writes about creating economic opportunity by connecting local assets to the regional economy.
We hope this report emboldens others to join the Fund in its quest for transformative opportunity-rich economic growth. Let us know what you think. You can also read more about the Call to Action here and here.
Listen to What Labor Force Participation Rates Tell Us
A recent analysis by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis reinforces the importance of labor force participation rates in understanding the health of local and regional economies. Author Andrew A. Pack writes that "more attention focused on boosting a region's workforce may be imperative for the future of many areas, especially those that continue to see out-migration." Last fall, the Brookings Institution looked at employment-to-population ratios in the 100 largest U.S. metros, finding that two-thirds of major metro areas had lower employment ratios in 2013 than prior to the Great Recession.
Pack added that, "Workforce development initiatives that focus on continually upgrading workers' skills to keep them relevant in the workforce, creating incentives for dislocated workers to re-enter the workforce and increasing collaboration with businesses will become even more imperative to local economic development if the labor force participation rate continues to decline."
WorkAdvance is one such successful workforce development initiative. Three new case studies offer insight on the pilot program in Northeast Ohio, now closing in on the fourth of its five years. What's most encouraging is how clearly the program has influenced employer practices, and how promising wide-scale reform appears as a result.
For more analysis on labor force participation rates in Northeast Ohio, click here.
In Case You Missed It ...
"For the next 10 years, there's a lot of positive momentum to build upon," said Amy Liu, senior fellow and co-director of the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution, one of the panelists. ideastream Executive Editor David Molpus, left, served as moderator.
Catch this retrospective video played at the start of the event. It features several regional leaders discussing Northeast Ohio's primary issues 10 years ago.
Translating Indicators into Action: A Recap
Community Indicators Consortium (CIC) held its annual forum designed to foster informed discourse on effective data collection methods and tools in September. A report summarizing the two-day event can be found here.
The Greater Ohio Policy Center (GOPC) will host its 2015 Summit, "Restoring Neighborhoods, Strengthening Economies," June 9-10, 2015, at The Westin Columbus. The Summit, designed for civic, business and nonprofit leaders from across the state and the country, will address a wide-range of topics essential to sustainable economic growth.
The Federal Reserve Banks of Cleveland, Philadelphia and Richmond will host the Summit on Housing, Human Capital and Inequality June 18-19, 2015, at the Omni William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh. Click here for more info.