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Saving and Creating Good Jobs: A Study of Industrial Retention and Expansion Programs


Authors: Mayer, Neil S., Ph.D.    

Report Acceptance Date: June 1999 (78 pages)

Posted Date: June 01, 1999

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Economic success poses its own dilemmas. For example, while the U.S. economy is creat-ing new skilled and semi-skilled jobs at an unprecedented rate, those new jobs are not equally accessible to all Americans, both in terms of where one lives and of the skills and income one needs to claim those jobs. In short, people in rural areas and areas in which manufacturing firms (and jobs) have fled do not have equal access to the new employment; neither do those persons with less skills, less education, lower income. A related dilemma is that, although some comminutes have arrived at remarkably innovative and successful means, frequently with support from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, to address the first dilemma, those initiatives have not been systematically described and widely disseminated. As the result, even highly successful initiatives have not claimed wide currency.

The four studies that comprise this effort go some way to addressing the second dilemma. They explore in detail four strategies that have shown marked success in producing and maintaining economic opportunities and jobs and also in making them available to people with low incomes. The four studies were conducted by the Center for Community Change with support by the Office of Policy Development and Research of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Pew Charitable Trusts and its Fund for Urban Neigh-borhood Development and by the Center for Community Change itself.

One of the reports Saving and Creating Good Jobs: A Study of Industrial Retention and Expansion Programs focuses on programs designed to assist manufacturing firms already in a given location to stay and grow. The underlying presumption is that some manufacturing firms in any local-ity would prefer to stay, and even expand, if special mechanisms were in place that improve the manufacturer’s capacity to compete by providing assistance in such areas as marketing, technology and finding qualified workers. This study assesses the value of industrial retention and expansion as a strategy with particular emphasis on the experience of four organizations for whom that strategy is their principal mission.

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