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Evidence Matters: Growing Toward the Future | Article1 Sidebar

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Winter 2012   


        Growing Toward the Future: Building Capacity for Local Economic Development
        Conceptualizing and Measuring Resilience
        Meeting the Challenges of Suburban Poverty

Strong Cities, Strong Communities: A Capacity-Building Partnership

The Strong Cities, Strong Communities initiative, a partnership among the White House and 14 federal agencies, seeks to strengthen capacity and spark economic growth in local communities while ensuring that taxpayer dollars are used efficiently. The initiative consists of four components.

Community Solutions Teams. These teams consist of federal employees from several different agencies who work directly with city leadership in the SC2 pilot cities of Chester, Pennsylvania; Detroit, Michigan; Fresno, California; Memphis, Tennessee; New Orleans, Louisiana; and the Northeast Ohio cities Cleveland and Youngstown. Community Solutions Teams are assisting cities with issues mayors have identified as vital to their economic development strategies, including efforts to build on local assets, strengthen regional economies, develop transportation infrastructure, improve job-training programs, and support community revitalization.

SC2 Fellowship Program. An effort that will deploy early- to mid-career professionals to the seven SC2 pilot cities to work in the offices of the mayor and local government. HUD developed the fellowship program and funded it with a donation from the Rockefeller Foundation. In December, after an open competition, HUD announced a partnership with the German Marshall Fund of the United States, which will act as the third-party administrator of the program. The first class of Fellows is expected to launch in the summer of 2012.

SC2 Economic Planning Challenge. In addition to the seven pilot locations, SC2 includes an Economic Planning Challenge designed to help additional cities develop economic blueprints. Through this national grant competition, cities will adopt and implement innovative economic development strategies to support comprehensive city and regional planning efforts. Six cities will be competitively selected to receive grants of approximately $1 million that they will use to administer a competition, in which they will challenge multidisciplinary teams of experts to develop comprehensive economic and land use proposals for their cities. The challenge will be overseen by the Economic Development Administration, which will help cities administer the competition.

The National Resource Network. A new concept developed by HUD with the White House and other agency partners, the National Resource Network provides economically distressed local governments with an on-call group of experts to help solve problems and maximize resources. The Network will extend SC2’s reach beyond the pilot cities, providing the services of experts to eligible cities, towns, and counties that might not otherwise have access to these professionals. Rather than providing assistance organized by federal programs, the Network will develop and manage a diverse team of expert technical consultants who tailor services to local needs. In particular, the Network can help with basic operational issues such as deficits, lack of staff capacity, and poor bond ratings.


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