Economic and Community Development
Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber earns Economic Development Award
The Mid-America Economic Development Council, which represents economic development agencies in 10 states, has recognized the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber with an award. The Chamber's OH-PA Stateline Export Initiative, launched earlier this year along with the International Trade Assistance Center at Youngstown State University, was recognized in the Business Retention and Expansion category. The initiative is designed to bring exporting awareness, foreign direct investment and supply chain matching to a 10-county region in Eastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania.
You can read the full story here.
Chambers Among Top ED Groups in the Nation
Chambers of Commerce operate under many different names, and can have very different mission statements. But one thing seems to be true across the board - chambers function to support and improve the business climate and economic vitality of the areas they serve.
So, it comes as no surprise that the work of chambers is consistently highlighted by top Economic Development industry publications. This week, Site Selection Magazine announced its list of Top US Economic Development Groups for 2014 as part of its May issue. Chambers and their affiliated programs made up 6 of the top 10 - and 2 more were honorable mentions.
This year's top groups were selected based on four objective criteria: jobs, capital investment, jobs per capita and investment per capita. Additional subjective criteria such as creativity of ED strategy, scope of project activity and the ability to link the EDO to real results were also considered. Those chambers recognized include:
- Charlotte Chamber of Commerce
- Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce
- Greater Houston Partnership
- Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce
- Pittsburgh Regional Alliance, part of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development
- Economic Futures of Spartanburg, a program of the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce
Join ACCE in congratulating these organizations on receiving recognition for their tireless efforts in support of their communities.
Tags: Economic Developmen
Congratulations to these ED Rockstars
Recognized by two different industry-leading groups, Paul Rumler, Chief Economic Development Officer of the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce, and Larry Burkhardt, Executive Vice President of the Fox Cities Regional Partnership, have recently been named top performers in the industry.
Rumler, who has served the Quad Cities chamber for more than 8 years, was named to the 40 Under 40 list for the economic development profession. Individuals recognized on this prestigious list represent young leaders who have raised the bar in economic development through innovation, high standards, strong character and a track record of success.
Consultant Connect, a consulting agency designed to bridge the gap between economic developers and site consultants, has included Larry Burkhardt among its list of North America's top 50 economic developers. Nominated by colleagues, Larry is recognized for helping the Fox Cities Chamber establish an economic development organization that is growing in its reputation as a credible, professional and effecting job creation catalyst.
Congratulations to both division members on these outstanding commendations!
Addressing Poverty and Economic Disparity in Center State New York
CenterState Corporation for Economic Opportunity (CenterState CEO), which houses the CenterState Chamber of Commerce, recognizes the growing need for economic support in its twelve county region in New York State. Although the region’s average wages are on the rise, the U.S. Census Bureau reports tens of thousands still living in poverty in urban, suburban and rural areas alike. Backed by a commitment to driving and sustaining economic growth, CenterState CEO hopes to bring the community together to increase wealth and improve quality of life for all.
In an effort to inform their work, CenterState CEO identified a community to watch in the effort to bolster their region through economic inclusion: Cleveland, OH. In an open event in Syracuse on October 24, titled Building Equity – Lessons from Cleveland – How to Connect Growth and Opportunity, key leaders from Cleveland shared their history and progress in securing a vibrant future for their community. The event welcomed between 80-100 attendees, representing civic, business and community leadership from across the Center State region.
Natoya Walker Minor, Chief of Public Affairs with the City of Cleveland and Brian Hall, Director of Inclusion with the Greater Cleveland Partnership, each shared their perspective on what key things were happening in each of their areas before the public and private sectors came together to develop a policy around community benefit agreements.
Cleveland has gone on a journey over the last 14 years since the community first marshalled around the concept of tracking and increasing diversity on boards and among senior management, workforce and supplier networks. What began as more of an awareness effort, has gained buy-in from the business community and has blossomed to include more emphasis and programming around how to get the work done.
In a recent interview, Brian Hall noted that the commission was formed “because several business leaders were prepared to make a commitment for the region and did so publically and through their own organizations”. Hall sees this as a key recommendation for Syracuse and the CenterState region. His advice is to encourage not only the civic and community leadership to buy in, but that the core support of these efforts needs to come from the business leaders. Stating, “The question on success doesn’t ride on the process, it rides on the demand. And the demand comes from those that are doing the hiring and the purchasing”.
Cleveland’s commission began as a collaborative of 26 businesses, but now includes 120 companies, organizations and institutions – which they have committed to growing to 300 in the next five years through their new strategic plan. While there remains work to be done, the needle has certainly begun to move and Cleveland can serve as a positive example for work in Syracuse and beyond.
Urban green spaces serve as a catalyst for economic development
The Urban Land Institute (ULI) has recognized Klyde Warren Park in Dallas, Texas with this year’s Urban Open Space Award. The award, which began in 2009, highlights exceptional open urban spaces that enrich and revitalize their surrounding communities. In addition to garnering national recognition, the individual or organization responsible for creating or maintaining each year’s winning project receives $10,000. Past winners include The Parks and Waterfront at Southeast False Creek in Vanvouver, BC; Railroad Park in Birmingham, Alabama; Citygarden in St. Louis, Missouri and Campus Martius Park in Detroit, Michigan.
The Klyde Warren Park, a deck park built over the recessed Woodall Rodgers Freeway in Dallas, is a 5.2 acre urban green space that is operated by the private nonprofit Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation. The park hosts daily free activities ranging from fitness boot camps, children’s theater and live music. The built environment includes walking paths, a botanical garden, restaurant and much more.
Originally envisioned in the 1960s when the freeway was first recessed, the idea for a deck park surfaced again in 2002, started gaining financial support in 2004 and the park was completed in 2012. Now, it serves a sort of new town square, bridging Dallas’s downtown arts and culture district with adjoining mixed-use neighborhoods. By increasing pedestrian connectivity, Klyde Warren Park has begun to heal the urban fabric of the city and encourage ongoing transformation for downtown Dallas through improved quality of life.
This year’s other finalists also have strong ties to economic and neighborhood development. They include: Columbus Commons and Scioto Mile in Columbus, Ohio; Guthrie Green in Tulsa, Oklahoma, The Railyard Park and Plaza in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Washington Park in Cincinnati, Ohio. Each of these new public spaces has served as a catalyst for economic growth in the areas surrounding them. In the words of ULI’s award jury chair, M. Leanne Lachman, “Each finalist encourages communities to stay and actively participate, enlivening their neighborhoods and tightening the fabric of their cities.”
To learn more about Klyde Warren Park and this award, explore the following links:
“Dallas’s Klyde Warren Park Selected for ULI Urban Space Award”, Urban Land Magazine
Urban Land Institute’s Urban Open Space Award
Immigrant Growth in Metros, Suburbs
Recently released analysis of the 2013 American Community Survey data by the Brookings Institution reveals that the US immigrant population is growing and in a majority of large MSAs, much or all of that immigrant population growth is happening in suburbs.
The paper reveals a slight uptick in immigrant population growth from 2012 to 2013, with most of that growth concentrated in the nation's large metro areas. Immigrant populations grew significantly in traditional gateway cities like New York, Houston and Chicago, but the fastest growth rates were largely concentrated in the Southeast. Knoxville, Nashville, Raleigh, Charlotte, Louisville and Charleston all saw their immigrant populations more than double from 2000 to 2013. Only the Los Angeles and El Paso MSAs saw drops in foreign born residents over that period. During the same period the share of immigrants living in the suburbs increased from 56% to 61%.
Further evidence that immigration is not just a border issue or big city issue, its a national issue with ramifications for cities and suburban areas across the country.
Making Places Better
Since its inception, ACCE's Economic and Community Development Division has emphasized the place-making and product development side of economic growth. After all, its the piece of economic development in which every chamber of commerce has a role. Earlier this month our friend Rob Radcliff at Resource Development Group articulated this point in a blog post too good not to share.
From client communities as diverse as Miami and Rocky Mount, Rob cites a common laundry list of issues corporate leaders want to improve: "Talent, infrastructure, housing, access to capital, K-12 education, entrepreneurism, higher ed-business collaboration, physical product, government regulation and tax structure." These are big scale, systemic issues. Success is constantly measured on a scale, not with a check box. Regions don't have to be perfect on all these fronts, but they have to be improving. Rob's words: "Companies want to be places that want to be better."
Making places better. That's the clarion call for chambers of all sizes in all kinds of markets. You are responsible for economic development so identify the areas where your organization can best drive advancement and get to work!
Tags: Economic Development
Business Growth in Missouri
Entrepreneurial support is blossoming in the Show-Me State, as new programs and support land in St. Louis and Springfield. Namely, the Kansas-based Pipeline, an entrepreneurship grooming program, is expanding services into St. Louis and other parts of Missouri after receiving a new grant.
Pipeline is a yearlong fellowship program designed for successful high-performance entrepreneurs to work as a team to build new technology and life-science businesses. Not only will qualified entrepreneurs in St. Louis be eligible to participate as fellows, but this will also mean holding one of the program’s meetings in the region, bringing focus to the local entrepreneurial community.
The St. Louis Regional Chamber of Commerce has also committed to entrepreneurial support by naming Jason Hall the vice president of entrepreneurship and innovation, adding to his current responsibilities. Over the next four years, Hall hopes to increase the regional funding capacity by $100 million to support startups by forming a sidecar investment fund. This fund, for which Hall plans to hire a private fund manager, will match early stage private sector investments.
Springfield, MO has been cultivating a supportive environment for startups for many years. The area is now gaining national attention for these efforts, and has been named a “Best City to Start a Business” by WalletHub. The eFactory, a technology-focused entrepreneurship center and business incubator at Missouri State University, has also received recognition, being named the 2014 Community Impact Award recipient by Trade & Industry Development magazine.
Earlier this month, eFactory committed to helping a new start-up business, as Share a Gig was awarded the prize at the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce’s Go BIG Pitch Competition. Share a Gig will receive $5,000 and a six month lease at eFactory to help develop its idea to bring full gigabit internet access to residents and businesses of urban markets without the traditional costs of building out a high capacity gigabit fiber network.
To read more about these victories for Missouri, check out the news stories below:
- Pipeline Entrepreneur Program Will expand Network to St. Louis
- St. Louis Regional Chamber’s Hall looks to add millions in startup funding
- Springfield’s entrepreneurial ecosystem garners national attention
- Gigabit internet service provider takes prize in pitch competition
Rome Chamber gets geeky
Geek Week 2014, taking place October 6-11, is a community celebration of technology and innovation in Rome, Georgia. What started three years ago as a celebration of the IT Department at the Floyd Medical Center in Rome, GA has blossomed into a week-long, community-wide event reveling in all things geeky.
The Greater Rome Chamber of Commerce's Technology SquareTable hosts an exciting lineup of events including: a trivia game on kick-off night, egg drop competition, cookout and 'cardboard challenge'. In hopes that this event positively impacts the entire community, the Chamber promotes open participation in these events as well as encouraging individuals, schools, companies and non-profits to host their own events and activities around the themes of technology, innovation, and creativity.
Geek Week is a vehicle to highlight and appreciate the impact of technology on our lives both at home and at work. The Chamber also hopes to encourage the next generation to explore STEM-related (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields of study and careers by showcasing the technology and innovation that is happening in Rome.
To find out more about Geek Week Rome, click the links below:
Geek Week Rome on Facebook
Rome News Tribune's Article, Geek Week 2014 celebrates creativity in Rome
Follow the action on Twitter
Considering Obesity in Site Selection
Site selectors have to consider a variety of important factors when searching for communities to house their companies. While workforce health is one of the least discussed factors in site selection, due to a combination of both legal issues and lack of awareness, rising obesity rates and the associated healthcare costs are now demanding the conversation.
Last week, Site Selection magazine released a story covering a newly published report by Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).The study explores the rates of obesity among adults and children in this country. Findings indicate that six states saw an increase in obesity prevalence over the last year, and no states demonstrated improvement. Obesity rates are now at the highest ever in two states - reaching over 35% in both Mississippi and West Virginia. Twenty more states are above 30%, and there are no longer any states below 21%.
Obesity increases risk for type two diabetes, heart disease and a host of other health concerns. If obesity rates continue to rise, employers will feel the increased financial burden of insuring their growing workforce.
Studies highlighted in Site Selection show that engaging industry leaders can make a significant impact in reducing obesity while increasing their business’ bottom line. For example, corporate wellness programs show a consistent ROI in terms of reducing healthcare costs and increasing employee productivity.
With scales climbing right alongside healthcare costs, the business community can no longer afford to ignore how the health of the current and future workforce impacts their ability to compete in a global economy. Companies selecting new areas to expand or relocate their operations are seeking healthy communities driving healthy economies.
Consider the following resources for more information:
ACCE's Workforce Wellness Communication Briefs
Site Selection magazine's "Waistline Watch"