Monday, July 26, 2010

The Role of Economic Developers in Creating Quality Jobs (New IEDC Report)

This week's guest post was authored by Louise Anderson, Senior Associate at the International Economic Development Council.

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
While each case represents a different variant of this new framework, their common goal is a more systemic approach to job creation, with the objective of creating sustainable, quality jobs in a more resilient, more diverse economy. You can access a PDF of the Creating Quality Jobs – Transforming the Economic Development Landscape on IEDC’s website:


  1. We read this complete report. While it doesn't shed much new light, it's an extremely solid compilation of case study material that supports what successful practitioners know.

    We just wanted to add that as professionals it's important that we encourage creativity, which may lead to innovation, which may lead to entrepreneurship, throughout every facet of community life. It's also helpful if the innovators can meet and network with one another across disciplines, classes, neighborhoods, ages, ethnicities, or anything that might separate people. This is a subtle way to approach economic development if a planner is in a local government role where he or she can't affect much change in leadership or whether regional alignment of purpose occurs.

  2. Excellent stuff with wonderful information! There is a lot of helpful information within those links.

    Thanks for sharing this great info!