Report

Aligning Local and Regional Data to Achieve a More Inclusive Economy: A Northeast Ohio Model

What drives economic growth in our communities and how can we ensure that more people benefit from that growth? While economic growth has been the focus of many U.S. cities and regions since the Great Recession, it is the second question that is gaining much-needed attention in recovery years. Answering either question is complicated by the lack of ability to access, analyze and apply data across diverse stakeholders and geographies. This chapter is for practitioners and policymakers interested in coordinating data across multiple stakeholders and geographies, and is particularly relevant for those interested in addressing inequality through more equitable economic development efforts. The chapter surfaces one example of a model in which cross-sector partners identified ways to improve labor market outcomes for all residents, especially lower income residents, across an 18-county region: first by using data and research to identify economic challenges and opportunities, and second by coordinating a plan of action across diverse sectors and jurisdictions. The chapter discusses the process that Northeast Ohio, and specifically the Fund for Our Economic Future, experienced as one example of cross-sector partners struggling to build—and re-build—a competitive economic base that benefits all people in its various communities. Its lessons have relevance for others trying to do the same in their own local, national or global contexts.

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