Category Archives: Economic Development

C2ER Recognizes Excellence in Economic Development Research Community, Economic and Workforce Development Applied Research Awards

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.

 

364 Days Until Census Day 2020!

CREC Staff attended the Census 2020: Navigating the National and Local Challenges panel discussion hosted by the Brookings Institution to hear legal, demographic, and Census experts discuss possibly the most news covered Decennial. Primary questions from the meeting revolved implications of including the citizenship question in the Decennial Census, cybersecurity, and how to encourage residents to respond.

Former Census Bureau Director John Thompson noted that there is “no basis for the citizenship question” and that agency research indicates that it will decrease the response rate. Brookings Senior Fellow William Frey supported Thompson’s statements by emphasizing the importance of gathering this community data and the impacts it will have on communities’ federal funding, private grant dollars, and resources to serve the right population.

Thompson shared that the Census Bureau was underfunded from 2012 – 2017, so the Bureau prioritized shifting from the traditional paper collection to an automated and online process. He noted the Bureau is constantly working on improving cybersecurity and is committed to keeping residents’ responses safe and confidential.

The second panel facilitated by the National League of Cities’ CEO Clarence Anthony focused on the implications and efforts at the local level to ensure the best data possible is collected. Beth Link, the Director of Census Counts, encouraged communities to educate their elected officials and noted that there will be questionnaire assistance centers to help make the necessary technology accessible to communities where it’s needed and to help answer questions as residents complete the forms.

C2ER and the LMI Institute will continue to monitor 2020 Census preparations and will serve as a resource to our members moving forward. To learn more and hear directly from Census Bureau leadership, join us at the C2ER Annual Conference and LMI Institute Forum June 3 – 7, 2019 in St. Louis.

Resources shared during the discussion include:

Recordings of the Panels can be found below.

Call for WIAC Nominations

Dear Economic and Workforce Development Leaders,

C2ER and the LMI Institute are collaborating with National Association of State and Workforce Agencies (NASWA) to facilitate nominations of State Labor Market Information (LMI) Directors, economic development leaders, Workforce Information Board representatives, academics, and business leaders to serve on the Workforce Information Advisory Council (WIAC), which was created under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).

The WIAC is required to have 14 members, appointed by the Secretary of Labor, including four (4) State Workforce Agency LMI Directors, one (1) economic development leader, one (1) Workforce Board representative, one (1) academic researcher, and one (1) business leader.

Please consult the Federal Register Notice for detailed information on the membership of the WIAC, the nominations process, and the nomination requirements. A year ago, the WIAC successfully submitted recommendations to the Secretary of Labor for improving the nation’s workforce and labor market information. C2ER Board Chair, Jennifer Zeller of Georgia Power, and association member Andrew Reamer of George Washington University are among the original WIAC members who helped draft the recommendations.

Action Requested:  If interested, send your nomination materials to Ken Poole (kpoole@crec.net), C2ER and LMI Institute Executive Director, by Thursday, January 31, 2019. Required nomination materials include: a current resume or CV, cover letter, and contact information.

Thanks for your interest and we look forward to hearing from you.

Ken Poole

The Opportunity Atlas Collage

Just released to the public this week, Harvard researcher Raj Chetty and team, in conjunction with the Census Bureau have created an interactive tool to explore economic mobility at the neighborhood and Census Tract level – The Opportunity Atlas.

C2ER staff have enjoyed reading up on and playing with the new tool. The list below offers a collage of quick links to articles exploring the analysis it has to offer.

Find anything interesting to share using the tool? We’d love to hear from you!

The 58th Annual C2ER Conference and LMI Institute Forum Is Near

Join us in Atlanta for the 58th Annual C2ER Conference and LMI Institute Forum. Click here for the full agenda. For additional information, visit the Conference page. Hope to see you there!

 

State Data Sharing Initiative Reports Released!

We invite you to learn more about how to improve your economic and workforce development outcomes by using evidence to drive decision making.  The Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness (CREC) just released the report, “Advancing State Data Sharing for Better Economic and Workforce Development” and the tool “Legal Guide to Administrative Data Sharing for Economic and Workforce Development” that offer important lessons for states interested in enabling the responsible use of administrative records for program research and analysis.

Continue reading

Cost of Living Index Contributor Contest

In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Cost of Living Index, C2ER is looking for pictures of “Contributors on the Road.” While out collecting prices in their communities, C2ER encourages participants to take pictures and share them on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag, #50yrsCostofLivingIndex and tag C2ER. The organization who shares the picture with the most likes and shares will win a free online COLI calculator widget to embed on your organizations site for one year and a gift card to the individual participant. Please note that any pictures shared may be used in C2ER and COLI marketing materials and must be posted from the beginning of the data collection period through April 30th.

Additionally, if your organization contributed to the Index historically and has any old pictures or mementos that may help us mark the milestone, we’d love to hear from you!

For questions  or comments, please contact Jennie Allison at jallison@crec.net.

 

How Big Data is Affecting Direct Mail Marketing for Real Estate Brokerages

C2ER is happy to welcome guest writer, Tony Gilbert with The REALFX Group

The world of modern real estate marketing is infinitely more targeted, personalized and sophisticated than it used to be, due largely to the ability to obtain and analyze data. Big data, easily collected in the digital world, has opened myriad possibilities and streamlined efforts across the real estate sales and marketing universe to make them more effective.

Continue reading

2017 C2ER Accomplishments

During the past 12 months, the Council for Community and Economic Research, YOUR professional membership organization, has been hard at work increasing the visibility of economic, workforce, and community research by advocating for higher quality data, promoting more focused public and private investments in local data, and continuing to strengthen C2ER products and services.  We keep you informed about new data sources, exciting research, and opportunities to learn.  Following are some of the most vital accomplishments during the past year.

Communication with Data Users and Producers

Publications: C2ER/LMI Institute Weekly Update and Journal

  • Modernized the weekly Update with a fresh look
  • Monitored and summarized emerging data issues, relevant events, and recent research
  • Distributed weekly Update to more than 8,000 individuals, including members and targeted stakeholders
  • Developed target updates to non-members to increase membership rates among current readers
  • Published blog posts on topics relevant to C2ER members, including C2ER events and economic development news and trend analysis (http://blog.c2er.org/)
  • Produced four specialized blog-formatted articles for the Journal of Applied Research in Economic Development on relevant issues to economic development analysts and practitioners

Annual Conference, Training and Certification

  • Coordinated C2ER Annual Conference, LMI Institute Annual Forum and the Projections Managing Partnership (PMP) Summit for more than 240 attendees
  • Delivered in-person training courses:

Basic Labor Market Information Analyst

Foundations of Applied Economic Development Research

Intermediate Tableau for Economic and Workforce Developers

Leadership in Research Workshop

Analyzing & Developing Workforce Studies

New Census Tools 101

Applied Analyst Training

  • Conducted 24 webinars, reaching over 2,000 audience members
  • Certified three new Certified Community Researchers (CCR) in Quarter 4, 2017

Data Advocacy and National Visibility for C2ER Member Efforts

  • Served as member of BLS Data Users Advisory Committee
  • Collaborated with Friends of BLS and the Census Project in federal statistical advocacy efforts
  • Met periodically with key Census, BLS, and BEA leaders to improve regional data access
  • Represented the interests of statistical data users in meetings with Congressional staff during several visits to Capitol Hill, including organizing C2ER volunteers to contact Congress
  • Signed on to several letters advocating for proper funding for Census, BLS, and BEA
  • Provided input and technical assistance to the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking

Data Collection and Research Activities

Cost of Living Index – C2ER’s flagship data product since 1968   http://www.coli.org

  • Remodeled and issued 2017 County and State Level Cost of Living Index
  • Improved the process of library application and added three non-COLI databases including the State Business Incentives Database, State Economic Development Program Expenditures Database, and C2ER Diversity Index Database
  • Conducted online data scraping for housing, grocery, and miscellaneous categories nationwide
  • Attended annual conferences for the American Library Association, Tableau, and Emsi to promote C2ER products and membership
  • Increased metro participation with eight new communities contributing data

C2ER State Business Incentives Database Update http://www.stateincentives.org/

  • Maintained and updated unique summary of around 1,800 state programs designed to help businesses create jobs with 2017-2018 state legislative changes
  • Added additional programs for all U.S. states, territories, and the District of Columbia
  • Renewed the partnership with SelectUSA at the U.S. Department of Commerce to provide content to international companies seeking U.S. facility locations
  • Updated the program manager contact list based on state agency feedback

C2ER State Economic Development Program Expenditures Database Update  http://www.stateexpenditures.org

  • Updated database for FY 2018 proposed expenditures, as well as FY 2016 actual and FY 2017 appropriated expenditures (when available), for all 50 states in the database
    • Updated 2,300 and added 1,100 more state economic development program expenditure records

Other Policy and Economic Research and Technical Assistance

  • Continued partnership on a two-year project on state data sharing laws, regulations and agreements for a project sponsored by Laura and John Arnold Foundation
  • Assisted National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) with assessing the data analytic opportunities from the National Labor Exchange database of job openings data
  • Provided state incentives information to the U.S. Dept. of Commerce SelectUSA program
  • Conducted research on Current Population Survey microdata about the prevalence of credentials by education level, occupation, and other workforce characteristics
  • Launched the C2ER Tools of the Trade Database, an online resource for economic and workforce developers to identify data resources to guide their research

Three Workforce-Based Reasons Why Amazon Should Locate Its Second Headquarters In the Washington, D.C. Metro Area

C2ER and the LMI Institute are pleased to welcome this guest post from Lokesh Dani, a current graduate student at George Mason University in Arlington, VA.

———————————————————————————–

Amazon is looking for a second headquarters—HQ2. Many major metropolitan areas are preparing proposals now to host HQ2. Amazon’s decision will be a pragmatic one of matching its needs and preferences with the metropolitan area’s labor force, its infrastructure, its culture, and the attractiveness of the incentives the city offers. Most cities will accordingly seek to highlight their highly educated STEM workforce, their university system, their subways, highways, and airports, as well as their quality-of-life, and their culture of entrepreneurialism. Yet, the question of how well matched these features of an economy are to Amazon’s business activity, rather than any average technology-oriented company requires a more nuanced discussion.

Here I present three data-driven reasons why the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region is uniquely well matched to the needs of an Amazon headquarters based on the metro’s unique and specific occupation and industry mix.

  1. Meeting Amazon’s Specific Jobs Demand

An analysis of 5,948 job postings at Amazon Seattle’s headquarters since 2010 reveals that 42 percent of their job-demand was concentrated in software development activities. This was followed by 20 percent concentrating in management-related activities mostly covering project, program, and product management categories, including managerial activities relating to logistics and operations. The third largest concentration of demand was for engineering and R&D related work at 12 percent, followed by business development at 10 percent. The remainder of their jobs demand sought to staff their human resource needs, push their design innovations, and support their everyday activities, including addressing the regulatory and legal environment.

fig 1 amazon

Source: Author’s analysis of Amazon job postings and Bureau of Labor Statistics data

If the functions of HQ2 will mirror those of the Seattle headquarters then, for HQ2, Amazon will seek metropolitan areas that have a similar occupational mix as their expected demand. However, a common issue in matching demand with the regional supply of workers is that job categories, like workers’ skills and abilities, are amorphous and ever-evolving. This is visible in the plethora of job titles associated with related and similar types of work activities, such as the job titles of Programmer, Java Developer, and Software Developer. To get around this problem, I matched Amazon’s Seattle job postings to related occupational clusters in the Washington metro region and assessed the relative concentration of workers employed in these similar clusters.

The results show that for similar jobs as employed at Amazon’s Seattle headquarters, the Washington metro region has 2.2 times the national concentration of workers in software development; 2.9 times the national concentration employed in similar managerial activities; 3.8 times the concentration of related engineering and R&D workers; and, 2.3 times the number of business development workers as compared to the national average. This analysis reveals not just that the Washington metro area has a high concentration of educated workers with STEM degrees, but that the region has competitive advantages in precisely the type of educated STEM workers that Amazon needs to staff its new headquarters.

2.  The Washington Metro Area’s Unique Industry Mix

To say that Amazon is a leader in cross-sector innovation would surprise no one. The technology giant may file under the NAICS code 454: “Nonstore retailers”, but the company’s business activities span well beyond the confines of any single NAICS sector, at any level of aggregation. To maintain its innovative lead and to satiate its demand for workers with breadth of knowledge and experience, Amazon hires from a diverse list of industries. It would then be useful to know what cluster of industries’ labor pool Amazon would most benefit from if it were to locate in the Washington metro area.

fig 2 amazon

Source: Author’s cluster analysis of QCEW data drawn as a network using Gephi 0.9.2

To investigate this regional characteristic, I have clustered all 3-digit NAICS industries in the Washington metro area based on the skill and task similarities of their most prominent occupations. This method reveals a ‘similarity’ of industries based on their potential for sharing occupational labor flows. What it shows is that nationally “Nonstore retailers” share an occupational similarity almost exclusively with other “Retail Trade activities”. In the Washington metro area this industry potentially shares labor flows with, “Professional, scientific, and technical services”; “Finance and Insurance”; and, the “Information services industries”. Compared with the composition of job postings of Amazon’s Seattle headquarters, the Washington metro area’s unique mix is well matched to keep the company at the frontier of innovation by attracting new workers with a wide set of diverse but related industry knowledge.

3. Regulating the Risks of Automation

Last year Mckinsey issued a report that assessed which jobs are most at risk of automation in the near future.[1] By evaluating work activities rather than job titles they reported that data collection, data processing and work requiring predictable physical tasks are the most susceptible to automation. Given Amazon’s primary industry activity in the retail sector, its data intensive technology, and its dominant market share, it is more-than-likely that the same technical advantage of automation that favored Amazon in disrupting an industry will ultimately present the company with substantial workforce challenges in the future. The only long-term option to automation is workforce retraining and upskilling in conjunction with an update of the regulatory infrastructure to support a digitized workforce. As the seat of the federal government and with one of the nation’s best education ecosystems, this is yet another competitive advantage of the Washington metro area that specifically benefits Amazon’s future growth and headquarters.

Conclusion

Having an Amazon headquarters locate in your city is a profitable opportunity. As Amazon notes in their RFP, “every dollar invested by Amazon in Seattle generates an additional $1.40 for the city’s economy overall.” The RFP further mentions that Amazon’s presence in Seattle has brought large positive innovation spillovers boosting the metro’s engineering and R&D capabilities. For a metro such as Washington, D.C. that has for some time sought to diversify its private sector away from federal dependence and re-brand itself an innovation hub, landing Amazon’s second headquarters would be a big win. Yet, the decision needs to also favor Amazon in a fashion that meets its current needs but also maintains its position at the frontier of innovation. The assessment summarized here provides support for such an argument by showing that the Washington metro area’s occupation mix and its industry mix provide unique opportunities well suited for the needs of an Amazon headquarters.

[1] https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/digital-mckinsey/our-insights/where-machines-could-replace-humans-and-where-they-cant-yet