Manufacturing sector’s economic contributions celebrated while reports caution uneven regional and racial benefits

As Manufacturing Day continues to be recognized throughout the month of October, the Census Bureau issued a press release highlighting the key economic contributions of the manufacturing sector. The release highlighted the increases in the value of shipments and employment in the manufacturing sector from 2017 to 2018, as well as the sector’s nearly 60 percent share of U.S. exports. But a recent report from Policy Matters Ohio and The Century Foundation set a more cautionary note. Analyzing data over a much longer period and focused on four states in the Great Lakes region, the report finds that manufacturing jobs had not yet recovered to pre-Great Recession levels even before the COVID-19 pandemic began, and that the wage advantage of manufacturing has continued to erode compared to other sectors in the region.

NY unveils $175 million workforce development initiative

Last week, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo launched a new effort to streamline the state’s workforce development programs. The $175 million Workforce Development Initiative will consolidate the state’s fragmented workforce development funding opportunities. Using the state’s 10 regional economic development councils (REDC’s) to suggest and prioritize projects, the initiative will offer awards in three competitive categories: public-private partnerships that expand infrastructure and capacity for state universities to meet employer needs; programs to expand employer investment in workforce pipelines; and, workforce solutions that provide flexible funding for innovative workforce development projects such as those targeting advanced industries or underrepresented populations.

Bay Area Council Releases Roadmap for Economic Resilience

In his 1962 State of the Union address, John F. Kennedy said, "The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining."  Despite its foggy reputation, perhaps no region has had the sun shine on them more economically since that speech than California’s Bay Area. Currently, in spite of its strengths as a hub for talent, research, and innovation, the Bay Area lacks a cohesive and comprehensive regional economic strategy for sustaining economic growth, weathering business cycles and supporting shared prosperity. To combat this, A Roadmap for Economic Resilience: The Bay Area Regional Economic Strategy serves as a roof-repair-guide of sorts, offering viable solutions to support regionalism,  facilitate infrastructure investment, address housing affordability, encourage adaptive workforce development, and improve access to transportation options.

New NC Initiative Aims to Expand Reach of Innovation Economy

Five North Carolina communities have been selected to participate in InnovateNC, a two-year economic development initiative centered on sharing knowledge, tools and resources between partner regions. Asheville, Greensboro, Pembroke, Wilmington and the city and county of Wilson were chosen from the 18 applicant regions. The initiative is spearheaded by NC State University’s Institute for Emerging Issues with nine partners and supported by a grant from the Kenan Creative Collaboratory. The selected communities will create local innovation councils and develop tailored local innovation strategies in an effort to expand the benefits of the innovation economy to parts of the state that have not experienced the same boom as the Research Triangle and Charlotte. Find more information at:

New Initiative Intended to Support the Growth of Startup Capital in Kansas City Region

Kansas City is leaving millions of dollars on the table, funding that could fuel early-stage startups that are the key to creating jobs and economic growth, according to a new report from KCSourceLink and its partners. The report will serve as a roadmap to a new capital initiative led by the Kauffman Foundation; several regional economic and community development organizations; and, other stakeholders in the Kansas City metro region. The new initiative – We Create Capital – aims to increase the availability of microfinance, angel, seed stage, and venture capital for startups by creating better connections between investors, attracting venture capital to the region, and cultivating a deeper talent pool of people to manage venture capital funds. The plan also calls for increasing awareness about available startup funding sources including federal, state, local, and private sources. Read the strategy...

NY, IN Pursue Regional Strategies to Fuel High-Tech Economy

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently announced the fourth round of regional economic development grants to support tailored approaches to job creation in different areas of the state. The $709.2 million in awards are part of the state’s ongoing Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) initiative begun in 2011. Regional strategies have long been a key component of state development policy, enabling policymakers to encourage institutional partnerships with a focus on the specific needs of local economies. New York’s approach supports individual projects proposed by regional councils. Other models have been proposed in Indiana and Kentucky.

ND-MN Group Develops Five-Year Plan to Sustain Prosperous Economy

While it is common for states, regions or cities to develop economic strategies when times get rough, the Valley Prosperity Partnership hopes to capitalize on the unprecedented job growth the Red River Valley has experienced in recent years to build a more innovative economy. A new, five-year action agenda, drafted in partnership with Fourth Economy, offers many possible action items for the region, which includes parts of North Dakota and Minnesota. Priority areas include talent attraction and development research output, entrepreneurial activity, water management, infrastructure development and marketing.

For Earth Day: Toward a Better Understanding of Our Regional Innovation Systems

The strategic direction of good regional innovation investments, from research through commercialization and production, must be based on the best information regarding the current trends, assets and needs of the regional innovation system. Socio-economic data and asset mapping tools - available through sources like the three EDA-funded sites: Stats America and US Cluster Mapping and the Regional Innovation Acceleration Network (RIAN) – provide good starting points. The first two sites help policymakers and practitioners characterize their targeted geographic area for key demographic, industrial, and economic indicators. RIAN’s site identifies 15 asset blocks integral to all regional innovation systems.

Indiana University Network Launched to Diversify Economic Development Efforts

A new statewide network will coordinate the regional economic development activities of Indiana University, according to an announcement released by the university this week. The Innovate Indiana Network will complement the work done by the Innovate Indiana initiative and the university's Council for Regional Engagement and Economic Development (CREED). The network will include representatives from 16 schools, offices and centers across the state that offer services that could potentially benefit regional economies. By connecting these offices through the network, the university hopes to address a wider variety of economic concerns in the state and marshal resources from underutilized university offices. Read the announcement...

U.S. Commerce Department Awards $20.5M for Regional Job Creation

Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker recently announced the first ten winners of the Make It in America Challenge, which provides grants to accelerate regional job creation and encourage business investment. Grantees will receive a total of $20.5 million for projects supporting regional economic development, advanced skills training, greater supply chain access and other projects. Funding for this round of awards is provided by the Economic Development Administration, the Labor Department's Employment and Training Administration, and the Delta Regional Authority. The National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership will sponsor another round in early FY14. Read the announcement and list of winners...


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