Category Archives: Data

Addressing the Skills Gap Starts in Your Own Office

NP Employees

A survey from the Chronicle of Higher Education shows that government and nonprofit employers have a more-difficult time with recent-graduate hires. Most of the issues cited involve “soft skills.”

Of the 700 employers in the survey who offered feedback on specific troubles they experienced with recent grads, most mentioned communication and critical thinking. Specifically, the employers stated that they often find candidates who cannot put ideas forward, support those concepts, and build upon them. “Soft skills” don’t just stop with communication and critical thinking. They include collaboration and respect for diversity. All too often, these people skills are becoming the value-add for new hires.

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Advocate for Important Data Programs

Congress and the Administration have reached a budget deal for FY2016 (and FY2017) that will increase the overall spending limit for non-defense discretionary programs by $25 billion for the fiscal year that started October 1st. The House and Senate Appropriations Committees must now revise the 12 annual funding bills, and Congress must enact them, before the temporary spending bill (Continuing Resolution) expires on December 11th.

This is an opportunity for  members to advocate to the House and Senate subcommittees in charge of funding for the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Bureau of Economic Analysis. The new budget framework provides additional resources for the appropriate committees in charge of these vital data programs (Commerce, State, Justice or equivalent in the House/Senate and Housing Education Labor Pensions or equivalent in the House/Senate). The Census Project is currently circulating a letter advocating for full ACS funding. Now would be a good time for your Senator or Congressman to hear about the importance of Census, BLS, and BEA funding.

Highlights of C2ER / Bureau of Economic Analysis Data Focus Group

focus-groupThe Council for Community and  Economic Research organized a teleconference-style focus group on March 11, 2015, to learn more about our members’ most commonly-used data sources and to gather recommendations for future products for the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA).

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State Initiatives in International Markets

According to the C2ER State Economic Development Expenditure Database, international trade and investment is among the fastest growing economic development functional areas. C2ER defines the international trade and investment function as program activities  involving export promotion, international marketing and recruitment, foreign direct investment assistance, and an array of programs aimed at building stronger economic ties between states and other parts of the world.

Int1Since 2012, states have increased their program expenditures in international trade and investment from $61 million in FY 2013 to $75 million in combined proposed spending for FY 2015 – a 23 percent increase. This rise in investment can possibly be connected with the successes of the Small Business Administration’s State Trade Export Promotion (STEP) Grant Initiative, a 3 year pilot program which uses matching-fund grants to assist eligible employers in becoming engaged in the international marketplace. Essentially, the grant subsidizes the marketing costs states accrue in advertising their businesses’ goods and services internationally. Continue reading

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Managing Data Challenges

This post originally appeared on the Smart Incentives blog, written by CREC Senior Research Fellow, Ellen Harpel.

Data is one of the key elements of the Smart Incentives 4×4 framework that enables communities to make sound investment decisions. Unfortunately, good data on how well incentive programs work is often lacking. This lack of data hinders both economic development professionals in their day-to-day work and policymakers in their leadership and oversight roles. Continue reading