Economic Development: What I Didn’t Learn in Planning School

131114-Teaching-PlanningI received my Master’s in Urban Planning with a focus on Community Development. I learned a lot about how to design “great places” as the American Planning Association calls them. Characteristics of a Great Neighborhood include… Continue reading “Economic Development: What I Didn’t Learn in Planning School”

Small Towns, Great Gowns, Big Opportunities

131024-Town-GownIn recent months our Fourth Economy team has been hard at work on several town-gown development projects.  It’s time to share a few lessons learned.  First, if you live in a smaller town and are fortunate enough to have an institution of higher education close by, don’t squander the opportunity to build upon this high value asset – embrace it, leverage it, and cultivate it.

While the many positives associated with town-gown partnerships may be obvious to most of us, surprisingly those positives often need to be clearly identified, communicated and tactically acted upon. Continue reading “Small Towns, Great Gowns, Big Opportunities”

Inside International Immigration in Pittsburgh: A look at High-Skilled High-Paying Occupations

Pittsburgh-ImmigrationRecently we were working on a grant about how to better prepare our workforce for the jobs available to them. During this process, I was asked to investigate H1-B Visa applications. What I found altered my perception about the nature of the highly-skilled, highly-paid immigrant worker population in Pittsburgh. Between October 2012 and March 2013, one thousand five hundred and twenty-four (1,524) immigrant visa applications were approved through the Department of Labor. All 1,524 H1-B Visa are for highly-skilled, highly-paid, and hard-to-fill positions. The H-1B is a non-immigrant visa in the United States under the Immigration and Nationality Act, section 101(a)(15)(H). It allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations. Continue reading “Inside International Immigration in Pittsburgh: A look at High-Skilled High-Paying Occupations”

The Role of the Intermediary: Critical Infrastructure in the Fourth Economy

They take many names and structures: Collaboratives, Alliances, Councils, Initiatives, Partnerships.  Whatever their name, economic development intermediary efforts across the country are effectively uniting diverse organizations, people, skill sets, and geographies around common community and economic development goals.

These modern assemblies are reflective of the fourth economy.  They are nimble, take shape quickly, utilize social media and are open to information sharing.  They recognize the challenge that in our global and dynamic market economy – no single organization can possibly have all of the resources and knowledge to address a region’s community and economic development objectives.  We must work together, find where organizational missions intersect and then contribute a slice of time and resources to achieve a larger goal.

Continue reading “The Role of the Intermediary: Critical Infrastructure in the Fourth Economy”