Center for Community Change Studies On Local Economic Development Strategies

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Release Date: 

  • December 1998

Posted Date:   

  • December 1, 1998
 
 
 
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These four studies detail 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 Neighborhood Development and by the Center for Community Change itself. The four reports are:

    Making Connections: A Study of Employment Linkage Programs considers efforts by local governments to leverage their fiscal and zoning powers to gain the commitment of employers to connect low income people with private sector employment. Such initiatives share certain features: They create ties to employers through the use of development incentives and offering employers an expensive system for locating quality employees, provide timely access to information on job opportunities and establish formal means for screening, referring and placing job candidates. In the report, three long-standing employment linkage programs are reviewed to determine how well they link residents of economically isolated communities to jobs.

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    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 locality 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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    New Avenues into Jobs: Early Lessons from Nonprofit Temp Agencies and Employment Brokers explores an economic development model in which job seekers are placed by employment brokers into non-permanent positions where they build work experience while receiving varying degrees of retention assistance and other kinds of post-placement support. The report documents the efforts of six nonprofit organizations to help disadvantaged workers gain access to employment through temporary work and surveys the lessons, positive and negative, learned from these local initiatives.

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    Strengthening Rural Economies: Programs that Target Promising Sectors of a Local Economy examines how a strategy of concentrating economic development efforts on a sector of businesses that are located near each other and share other common features can expand economic opportunities and produce jobs in rural areas. The report describes four diverse cases in which such a strategy has been used at least in part with the intention of increasing employment among low income people -- and with some success.

    Taken together, these reports, and related studies available directly from the Center for Community Change, offer those in local governments and both non- and for-profit organizations who want to stimulate more and better jobs for residents of their communities insights into the potential for growth implicit in local economic development strategies that can be replicated and customized to meet local needs.

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