On June 6, 2019, economic and workforce development professionals from across the U.S. and Puerto Rico assembled at The Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) annual conference in St. Louis, Missouri to recognize excellence in economic development research work done by their peers. Receiving awards were the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, Centers of Excellence for Labor Market Research (California), Georgia Power Company, Greater Houston Partnership, Greater Minneapolis -St. Paul Economic Development Partnership, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, Team Northeast Ohio.
The C2ER awards program recognizes the contribution of research activities to the success of local, regional, or state/provincial economic development initiatives. The purpose of the award is to increase the quality of economic development research by identifying meritorious projects and promoting the diffusion of creative ideas for research activities.
Projects could be submitted for evaluation in the following categories of research activity:
- Projects that support business and workforce development activities
- Data collection/dissemination efforts, including web-based systems
- Policy Analysis supporting federal, state, or local initiatives
- Project impact/program evaluation or assessment
- Projects that support collaborative community/regional initiatives
The projects were judged on their contributions to the economic development research field, innovativeness in approach, implementation or collaborative efforts, responsiveness to customer needs, and benefits resulting from project implementation. The seven highest scored projects were chosen out of 16 submissions.
Research projects recognized for “Outstanding Achievement” include:
Allegheny Conference on Community Development
For Recognition for Projects Supporting Collaborative Community Initiatives
In 2018, the Allegheny Conference on Community Development (Conference) revised a decade long survey used to aggregate regional economic development projects won each year. A digital Business Investment Scorecard was developed that makes data and trends highly digestible, complemented by visuals and supporting quotes/testimonials from investors and other stakeholders. This initiative has resulted in a great opportunity for collaboration among regional economic development partners and an effective way to gather often difficult to find information in the region. It is simple to implement and manage making it easily adaptable for nearly any economic development organization.
Centers of Excellence for Labor Market Research (California)
For Project Impact/ Program Evaluation and Assessment
The Center of Excellence for Labor Market Research (COE) produced a report, focused on nine common and specialized cybersecurity work roles, to quantify employer demand and the supply of educational providers in California – Cybersecurity: Labor Market Analysis and Statewide Survey Results from California Employers and Postsecondary Institutions (Cybersecurity report). The COE conducted the first statewide, workforce demand-side primary research study tied to the NICE Cybersecurity Workforce framework. COE not only reviewed the demand for nine work roles but also created a series of questions about skills for traditional information communications technology (ICT) jobs. This report contributed to the development of California’s workforce by aligning the business and education communities to a common cybersecurity workforce development framework. As education and industries partner to align their strategies to address the workforce challenges outlined in the Cybersecurity report, employers will be able to tap the talent pipelines from California cybersecurity education providers to increasingly fill job vacancies with qualified candidates.
Georgia Power Company
For Projects Supporting Business Development Activities
Georgia Power is committed to the continuous improvement and investment in the state’s community and economic development. The newest way the company is doing this is through a comprehensive Competitive Market Assessment that allows users to analyze project activity in real-time across regions and states. In doing so, researchers can dissect each individual location announcement by key performance metrics such as jobs and capital investment. The analysis also builds upon a series of 15+ publications we produce annually that already evaluate the activity of key industries across Georgia compared to the nation. Using Conway Analytics and Georgia Power’s proprietary Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, the research team is uniquely and competitively positioned to support the economic development strategy and create targeted campaigns to reach key market segments — and investment — that are currently being lost to competitors.
Greater Houston Partnership
Projects Supporting Business and Workforce Development Activities
The Greater Houston Partnership developed a Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) workflow to objectively evaluate land and building sites for high-technology economic development Requests for Information (RFI), Site Suitability Analysis for High-Tech Projects. High-tech projects are highly desirable by region stakeholders, and regional economic development organizations (EDOs) and Chambers of Commerce (COC) are eager to submit sites within their respective territories. However, for many RFIs, only one regional RFI response is allowed, and it is therefore essential that all possible sites are narrowed to the best site(s) for the final RFI submission in a manner that is transparent and acceptable to all participating stakeholders. The project developed a new method to express and visually communicate workforce concentration and density across irregularly shaped block-groups. In this workflow, concentration was shown as ‘high-tech labor per square mile that is 10-times, 15-time, and 20-times the metro area average’. This expression allowed the client to understand density in the context of its relation to the Houston metro area.
Greater Minneapolis -St. Paul Economic Development Partnership
For Data Collection/ Dissemination Efforts
Originally created in 2015, the Greater Minneapolis-St. Paul’s Regional Indicators Dashboard (Dashboard) is a data dissemination and benchmarking tool designed to create a shared regional dashboard with metrics agreed upon by regional stakeholders to address shared priorities. The ultimate goal of the Dashboard is to be used to guide decision making in order to lead to collective action in the region. The local impact of the Dashboard in Greater MSP has been significant. Companies, nonprofits, foundations, chambers of commerce and other groups are putting the Dashboard to work in their organization to align goals and tackling issues that the Dashboard identified. The overall goal of the Dashboard was to create a set of shared, objective metrics to track the Greater MSP region’s overall movement on critical economic, environmental and social outcomes.
Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development
For Policy Analysis Supporting Federal, State, or Local Initiatives
The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) is required to publish a compilation and summary of results to the Legislature on eligible business and financial assistance provided by state and local government agencies by December 2018 for the previous two calendar years (Minnesota Statute §116J.994, Subdivision 9). To fulfill that requirement DEED staff prepared updated calendar year CY 2016 and CY 2017 reports from August 1, 1999 through December 31, 2017 using Tableau visualization software, resulting in the 2018 Business Assistance Legislative Report. This allows the user is able to more easily drill down the data and improves public transparency.
Team Northeast Ohio
For Projects Supporting Collaborative Community Initiatives
In 2018, Team Northeast Ohio project on the commercialization of industrial internet of things technology is the accumulation of collaborative efforts between the Roadmap Project Team, Team NEO’s innovation and research team, and a Working Group of prominent end-user companies, key supply chain participants and leading academic institutions. The Smart Manufacturing – Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) Roadmap (IIoT Roadmap) is designed to help influence the future of manufacturing across Northeast Ohio in the digital age. The IIoT Roadmap translates economic impact studies of IIoT into an actionable tool based in research that local economic development practitioners can leverage to call on companies. As manufacturing innovation becomes even more important to Northeast Ohio’s competitiveness in the global economy, IIoT offers manufacturers a tremendous opportunity to increase their productivity, spur product innovation, develop tomorrow’s workforce and bring more profit to the bottom line.
C2ER – The Council for Community and Economic Research – is a national membership organization of economic development researchers, represents professionals working for chambers of commerce, economic development organizations, local government, utilities, academic institutions, and regional planning councils.