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An ordinance requiring contracting companies to maintain, to the greatest extent possible, a workforce composed of 40% qualified Newark residents.
A policy on obligations of developers and contractors to seek local employees, service providers and businesses to meet their needs.
Local leaders recognize and often publicly tout the importance of a strong, growing entrepreneurial and small business community. Yet, when it comes to supporting entrepreneurs in practice, many local leaders are unsure how they can make a real impact. Experts suggest that one essential element for entrepreneurial growth is the presence of an "eco system" or "culture." Given the various dimensions and actors that can create eco systems - including universities, large and small businesses and their leadership, entrepreneurial support programs, workforce skills, financing, and probably a bit of luck - do local governments really have a role to play? Research by the National League of Cities' Center for Research and Innovation suggests that they do.
Small businesses are the lifeblood of the economy in the United States. Based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Office of Advocacy at the U.S. Small Business Administration documented that small businesses accounted for over 92% of the net new jobs creation between 1989 and 2003. The smallest among the small businesses (those employing fewer than 20 employees) accounted for 85% of the net new job creation over the same period. In essence, the vast majority of the new jobs created in the economy come from the very small businesses. Of the total 21.8 million jobs created between 1989 and 2003, small businesses under 20 employees created 18.6 million jobs, small businesses with between 20 and 500 employees created 1.5 million jobs, and large businesses and companies (with over 500 employees) created only 1.7 million jobs. Similarly, while small businesses created net new jobs in 12 of those 14 years, large businesses eliminated more jobs than they created in 5 of those 14 years.
As our country continues to reel from the effects of the Great Recession, it is more important than ever to foster a more pragmatic appreciation for the role that government can and should play in shaping an economy that benefits us all. Unfortunately, Americans have a hard time understanding how the economy works, and they have a very limited sense of what government's role is or could be. But, there are openings in the public mind, especially in the wake of the recent and ongoing economic crisis. While experts may focus on statistics like the Gross Domestic Product or how the market is faring, average people tend to judge how the economy is doing by the wellbeing of those around them. Do people have jobs? Can they send their kids to college? Can they save for retirement? This is the moment to connect the dots between these basic economic expectations and the public policy and fiscal decisions that shape the answers. Research conducted for Demos has revealed a core idea that begins to connect those dots in helpful ways: our public systems and structures are the foundation of our economy and they are essential for a strong and vibrant middle class. These public systems and structures - like our schools, highways, the FDIC, and our reliable court systems - have always been critical to our economic success.
Major economic development projects and infrastructure investment can present both tremendous opportunities and significant threats for communities and residents. Using a community benefits approach, as a local government official you have powerful tools available to ensure that these projects provide the greatest social, economic and environmental benefits while also not harming surrounding neighborhoods. In short, community benefits are assets available through economic development that meet real community needs. Examples include community access to living wage jobs, affordable housing, health and community services and open space.
An analysis of more than 4,200 economic development incentive awards in 14 states finds that large companies received dominant shares, ranging between 80 and 96 percent of their dollar values. The deals, worth more than $3.2 billion, were granted in recent years by programs that, on their faces, are equally accessible to small and large companies. Yet big businesses overall were awarded 90 percent of the dollars from the programs analyzed, indicating a profound bias against small businesses.
Economic development is the process of building strong, adaptive economies. Strategies driven by local assets and realities, a diverse industry base and a commitment to equality of opportunity and sustainable practices have emerged as those that will ensure a strong foundation for long-term stability and growth. Even within the parameters of these principles, what constitutes success in economic development and the specific strategies to accomplish it will look different from place to place. Despite these differences, leadership is consistently identified as a critical factor in effective economic development. Dedicated leadership is needed to raise awareness, help develop and communicate a common vision, and motivate stakeholders into action. Although leadership can come from many places within the community, local elected officials are particularly well-positioned to take on this role. The political influence of elected leadership is critical to helping communities stay the course toward a vibrant economic future. From the bully pulpit to the design and coordination of public policies, mayors and councilmembers have opportunities every day to effect change and promote a strategic vision of economic growth for their community.
Public construction projects are an expenditure of public tax dollars; as such, public agencies have an opportunity to develop policies for public construction projects to benefit taxpayers with employment and business opportunities. Targeted hire initiatives create institutional mechanisms to increase the participation of socially and economically disadvantaged workers and businesses in public construction projects based on work availability. Many public agencies have used targeted hire to leverage their investment in construction into good jobs for those who need an economic boost. For communities that experience historic disinvestment and chronic un- and underemployment, such work can create lasting stability for families and a pathway to revitalize the local economy.