Solving the Labor Shortage: Workforce Reanimation

Photo by Chad Hurst

Everywhere I turn, people are complaining about the inability to find workers for many of the open jobs in their community. We continue to identify best practices and work with communities to replicate and implement to fit their needs. What if the solution was right in front of us (or I should say under us) the whole time. Inspired by the remaking of Pet Semetary and the dozens of Zombie shows on TV, we may want to look into Worker Reanimation. Yes, can we bring back the talent that has left us and get them back at the desk, factory floor, or driving delivery vehicles!

Reanimation Training Academy

In most cases, the reanimated will probably need some job skill upgrades and maybe even some life skills updates. A training academy can be established to prescreen, support intensive training and get them back in action. Haven’t held a job/been alive since the 1800s? No problem. We’ll catch you up on what computers are in no time.

Reanimated Professionals Group

We can imagine that the reanimated may want to share experiences with their peers. Their pre-life work relationships may not align any longer with their current views and activities outside the workplace. They will want to share their pre- and post-life thoughts with people who really understand them.

Ok, so maybe I got a bit carried away, but I do think I have a story idea to pitch for the next big AMC series.

We do take the issue of labor force shortages and skill needs of residents seriously and are working with several communities to address these situations. We will make sure to share some of this exciting work – when it’s not April Fools Day.  

Donuts! A New Metric for our Community Index

The Community Index began six years ago as an effort of our team to document what key indicators are measures of current and predictors of future vibrant communities. Each year we publish top 10 lists of counties, organized by population size.

Last year, we developed this tool to allow others to see how our Index model ranks counties across the country. The Index models communities across five categories:

This year, in looking at improving the data behind the model, we discovered that we were missing a key element in our Index: Donuts!

  • Investment: active businesses, access to capital, and investment in physical infrastructure
  • Talent: a growing workforce with education and job skills, equipped to excel in high-wage opportunities
  • Sustainability: transportation, land use, and environmental conditions that promote healthier lifestyles and a healthier planet
  • Place: affordable housing and transportation options that provide access to recreational and cultural amenities
  • Diversity: personal and professional interaction across lines of race/ethnicity, age, and wealth

This year, in looking at improving the data behind the model, we discovered that we were missing a key element in our Index: Donuts!

Today, we’re announcing that the five index categories have now become six:

  1. Investment
  2. Talent
  3. Sustainability
  4. Place
  5. Diversity
  6. Donuts

Who doesn’t like donuts? There is nothing better to pair with your early morning coffee or as a pick me up in the afternoon. Donut shops attract talent, make places more vibrant, and bring in investment from related industries.

Similar to our top ten lists, Best Places publishes a list of Top Ten Donut Cities:

  1. Providence-Warwick, RI
  2. Worcester, MA
  3. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA
  4. Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT
  5. New Haven-Milford, CT
  6. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT
  7. Springfield, MA
  8. Scranton–Wilkes-Barre–Hazleton, PA
  9. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX
  10. Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY

We’re spending April Fool’s day working on the math to incorporate these measures into our index, but in the meantime, visit the Fourth Economy Community Index to see how your community stacks up across our current indicators in Investment, Talent, Sustainability, Place, and Diversity, and let us know what you think.


Put me in coach! Fourth Economy Fields a Minor League Baseball Team

Fourth Economy has been doing a lot of work recently in communities with minor league baseball teams. Here is a sample:

Macon, Georgia

Team: Macon Bacon

We are working with OneMacon! in the development of a new actionable strategic plan.

Traverse City, Michigan

Team: Traverse Pit Spitters

We are working on a reorganization and partnership plan for local economic development organizations. The ultimate goal is to bring private sector, nonprofit and local municipalities, together around a strategic approach to economic development in order to grow a competitive, prosperous and sustainable regional economy.

Newport, Rhode Island

Team: Newport Gulls

We are working with the Newport County Chamber of Commerce on an initiative launched by the Chamber in 2018: Connect Greater Newport. Connect Greater Newport’s mission is to support the growth of Greater Newport’s existing businesses and serve as a resource to attract new companies to the region.

Allentown, Pennsylvania

Team: Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs

We are working with the City of Allentown to develop a Comprehensive and Economic Development Plan.

Being around all these minor league baseball teams has got us thinking… maybe we could start a team of our own! Today, on April Fool’s Day, we are celebrating the start of the baseball season by announcing our plans to start a minor league baseball team: the Fourth Economy Fish Fryers.

We’re trading in our post-it notes and powerpoints for baseball bats and gloves. Instead of spending time in boardrooms, we’ll be spending time in bullpens. Fresh off of spring training, we know this year is our year (or at least better than the Pirates). Here’s our lineup.

Coaching Staff

  • Rich Overmoyer- General Manager
  • Pia Bernardini- Director of Baseball Operations
  • Jerry Paytas- 1st Base Coach
  • Chelsea Burket- Hitting Coach

Position Players

  • Emily Brown – Pitcher
  • Monica Hershberger – Catcher
  • Chris Worley- 1st Base
  • Emilie Yonan- 2nd Base
  • Nicole Muise-Kielkucki – 3rd Base
  • Josh Devine – Shortstop
  • Kristina Harrold – Right Field
  • Mickey McGlasson – Left Field
  • Kara McFadden – Center Field
  • Jordan Daniels- Designated Hitter

Happy April Fools Day!