Job creation remains a key measure of success for economic development efforts. But the era in which nearly any job was a “good job,” to a certain extent, is over. Growth in the economy is becoming increasingly bifurcated, with high-tech, high-wage jobs on one hand and low-wage, largely service-sector jobs on the other. Economic developers find it increasingly challenging to create jobs that deliver the kinds of wages and benefits that were standard in the industrial era.
A recent report from the International Economic Development Council, Creating Quality Jobs – Transforming the Economic Development Landscape, shows how economic development is transforming in response to a changing economy. Creating quality jobs and rebuild the middle class in a global, knowledge-driven economy requires new strategies, new partners, new goals and new metrics of success.
Creating Quality Jobs – Transforming the Economic Development Landscape, is based on in-depth case studies of seven communities: Ponca City, Okla.; San Jose; Newton, Iowa; Albuquerque, N.M.; Tupelo, Miss.; Pittsburgh and Akron. The cases reveal an emerging framework for economic development, one aimed at creating broad-based prosperity through the transformation of both the regional economy and the institutions that support it. The framework has seven components:
- Alignment in a Regional Context
- Engaged Local Leadership
- Incorporating Inclusion
- Building Capacity
- Building on Existing Assets
- Basing Plans on Solid Research
- Innovation and Entrepreneurship