What Are The Challenges Economic Development Should Address?

Ed Burghard


I am in the process of creating a presentation that supports shifting the focus of economic development from year-over-year job growth to enabling residents to better achieve the American Dream.  To help make the case, I have created a module that looks at the driving needs of employers and residents in a community.

As I look at the challenge, I believe there are two driving considerations that should influence a community’s strategic plan.  Both arise directly from the aging of America’s labor pool.

The first driver is that employers are increasingly concerned about their ability to keep the current jobs they have created staffed with skilled labor.  Operational expansion (i.e. job creation) is episodic.  That is to say, when a company has a market driven reason to expand then adding jobs is a priority.  But, the baby boomers are beginning to leave the workforce creating a situation where companies human resource managers spend more and more of their time on finding skilled labor to replace departing staff.  For many companies, a clear value-added service would be to help them find sufficient skilled labor to meet their staff replacement needs and avoid any negative impact on daily operations.  I believe this argues for an increased focus on alignment of available local labor and the skill sets required for replacing a company’s lost employees.

The second driver is the aging of a community’s resident population.  As baby boomers retire, fewer and fewer residents are looking for jobs.  Instead, they are looking to achieve a fulfilling life in their community.  I believe this argues for focusing more time on helping these residents be economically viable, healthy, a productive member of society, valued and enjoy a clean environment.

These two drivers suggest that a single-minded focus on year-over-year job growth will fail to truly meet the needs of either current employers in the community or the majority of residents.  Shifting the focus to enabling residents better achieve the American Dream will help address both.

Focusing on better enabling the American Dream will encourage funding appropriate training of unemployed residents to be ready to fill an employer’s staffing needs.  From a process perspective, these residents would likely fill lower level roles better allowing the employer to backfill vacated senior level roles through internal promotion and outside of community recruiting.

Focusing on better enabling the American Dream will encourage creating specific strategies that address the five sub-index areas identified by the Xavier University research.  Doing so will ensure younger residents are prepared for a rewarding future and older residents remain healthy contributing members of the community.

Here are the slides I plan to use.

 Driving Needs


I would appreciate your reaction/thinking on both the logic and the slides.  I don’t feel like either the slides or logic are exactly where I want them to be yet.  I want to try crowd sourcing as an approach to get this presentation right.  If you have additional references I should look at, that would be great help.  Also, knowing what questions you might have will help me prepare answers in advance of my presentation.  My commitment to you will be to make the final presentation deck available through a blog post when it is finalized.  Thanks in advance for your comments.

Read About My Journey To Learn More About The American Dream

American Dream Case Study Series

Indiana versus Michigan

Florida versus North Carolina

New York versus New Jersey

California versus Texas

Pennsylvania versus New York

North Carolina versus Texas

Ohio versus Michigan

How Easy Is It To Achieve The American Dream In Your State?

To view the complete set of State rankings based on the ADCI and five explanatory sub-indexes, simply click this button

Ad 160X110


What do you think of this post?
  • Awesome (0)
  • Interesting (0)
  • Useful (1)
  • Boring (0)
  • Sucks (0)

2 Comments  |   Forward this to a friend Forward this to a friend   |   Number of emails sent: 545

Category Leadership

Bookmark and Share

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

2 Responses to “What Are The Challenges Economic Development Should Address?”

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

By submitting a comment here you grant Strengthening Brand America a perpetual license to reproduce your words and name/web site in attribution. Inappropriate comments will be removed at admin's discretion.

SBA Blog