The InSight Minute: Growing Local Economies – Metrics for Building Stronger Communities
Everywhere you look, from small towns to big cities, and even the federal government, there’s a drive to improve the economy and create more good jobs with decent pay so folks can live well and help the economy prosper. These are great platitudes, but how can it actually happen? Well, I had two experiences this past month that provide some perspective on this.
First, we brought on a new client, a county in North Carolina, and I had an opportunity to sit down with our contact who had just started her position in December. Her title is MWBE Program Director and she reports into the County Manager. We were discussing why she was hired, why it was an interesting job opportunity and what the County is hoping to accomplish with her in this role. She said, “If you look at my title, it looks like a traditional compliance role – make sure everyone is reporting things correctly. Yet, the County recognized that with a nearly $900 million budget, they should have a huge impact on their economic growth, particularly small businesses. However, they also recognized they don’t have the tools or data to know what impact they’re actually having. So, my job is to help our leaders and policy-makers understand our current impact on the local economy and how to make stronger.”
The second experience was my attending the P3 Conference in Dallas, TX where everything you wanted to learn about public-private partnerships (the 3 “Ps” in P3) was on display for three days. As I participated in the sessions, it became clear that these innovative financing mechanisms are a “newer” way to get projects constructed in communities – everything from schools to roads and transit and to community centers and libraries. But every public sector partner I heard speak discussed how each of these projects is a catalyst for economic growth in their communities, especially for small and local businesses which drive the local economy. So, a critical element for these projects is community engagement and local participation, at every level, and it’s vital to track and manage this in order to achieve the desired community impact and growth.
At SkillSmart, we are partners in helping to achieve these outcomes. Our tools are designed to be easy for project participants to input and share information, the data is readily accessible so everyone can see the progress that is being made, or changes that are needed, and ultimately the reports can help managers, leaders policy-makers and residents can see the impact they are having to make the community and economy stronger.
Let us know if we can support you in your efforts to positively impact your community and grow the economy.