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Economic Vitality: How can we improve our communities?

The 11-page issue guide (2016), Economic Vitality: How can we improve our communities?, was collaboration effort by the Southern Governors’ Association, Southern Economic Development Council, Consortium of University Public Service Organizations and Danville Regional Foundation. The Issue Guide was found on National Issues Forums Institute‘s blog and offers three options for participants to use for deliberation on the current economic situation in the US.

You can find the issue guide, moderator guide, and a post forum questionnaire, available for free download on NIFI’s site here.

Economic Vitality_coverFrom NIFI’s blog…

[Via Linda Hoke…]

Despite positive signs in terms of overall economic growth, the economy remains a key concern among many Americans. According to a Harris poll conducted in January 2016, Southerners were the most pessimistic about the future. For many in communities across the South, rapid change and an unclear future can create a sense of uneasiness, or even impending doom.

The Southern Governors’ Association, Southern Economic Development Council, Consortium of University Public Service Organizations and Danville Regional Foundation have partnered to develop materials designed to help communities come together to deliberate about the following key question: What should we do to improve economic vitality in our community? We encourage you to take a look at these materials to see if they can help your community – or a series of communities in your state – think through their options and paths forward.

We are glad to provide advice and assistance if you are potentially interested in holding a forum to help your community discuss the important issue of economic vitality. Please feel free to contact Ted Abernathy, Economic Development Advisor to the Southern Governors’ Association at ted[at]econleadership[dot]com or Linda Hoke, Director, Consortium of University Public Service Organizations at lhokesgpb[at]gmail[dot]com.

This issue guide presents three options for deliberation:

Option One: Make our community attractive to good and stable employers
This option holds that more attention is needed to the foundations that will make the community attractive to good and stable employers. This includes physical infrastructure such as airports and roads, as well as quality of life issues such as low crime rates and good schools. Annual surveys of business leaders identify these foundations as among the top factors influencing business location decisions. And, investments in infrastructure improvements such as broadband access offer rural communities the ability to overcome potential locational disadvantages in terms of accessing customers and employees. Without these investments, poorer or smaller communities may fall even further behind.

Option Two: Prepare workers and communities to be more self-reliant
This option holds that we need to do more to make workers and communities more self-reliant, to reflect the fact that employers- faced with global competition and the need to be more flexible – no longer provide the long-term security they once did. As a retired computer systems developer recently told Tulsa World as part of a series on the changing American dream, “There was a whole different atmosphere in the ’50s and ’60s as far as work went. Companies expected loyalty from you, but the company provided loyalty to their people.”

Option Three: Provide everyone in our community with opportunities for success
Unfortunately, many people who work hard and play by the rules still can’t get ahead because they have little access to opportunities for success, be it because of their lack of family support, lack of connections or simply their address. This option holds that we need to do more to ensure that everyone has opportunities for success.

About Issue Guides
This issue guides was done in the style of NIFI Issue Guides, which introduce participants to several choices or approaches to consider. Rather than conforming to any single public proposal, each choice reflects widely held concerns and principles. Panels of experts review manuscripts to make sure the choices are presented accurately and fairly. By intention, Issue Guides do not identify individuals or organizations with partisan labels, such as Democratic, Republican, conservative, or liberal. The goal is to present ideas in a fresh way that encourages readers to judge them on their merit.

Resource Link: www.nifi.org/en/groups/issue-guide-economic-vitality-how-can-we-improve-our-communities

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