I am going to talk about the critical importance of building partnerships for economic development and the importance of professional development/expansion for you as an individual and an organization.
We are always trying to explain what it is. Everyone knows what it is and no one knows what it is.
Frank Agazzio, President of PAHRA said: “Housing authority programs act as economic drivers by creating investment in the local rental market, spurring development and encouraging home ownership and financial stability among residents.”
You need to elbow your way to a table that you may not have traditionally been at, put your organizational ego aside, and hold on for the ride.
SEQUESTRATION – its not going away
Our traditional focus was on marketing to bring in new companies. We stepped back and reprioritized our resources and marketing campaign efforts when we recognized (because companies told us) that they can’t find the RIGHT people with the RIGHT set of skills. We also quickly recognized that we had to partner in order to make this effective across the board. The following words became part of our daily vocabulary:WeldingMechatronicsRobotics and Automation TechnologyMachiningMachine Shop TechnologyCAD
This wasn’tjust a problem in attracting new businesses, it was a problem for our existing companies.
This wasn’tjust a problem in attracting new businesses, it was a problem for our existing companies. It was preventing them from growing in our own community.
We had not been partnering with schools and using common messaging. We were also not effectively engaging those stakeholders who are comfortable receiving their message in Spanish – we needed to reach the parents AND incumbent workers. A higher skill level will result in higher salaries – raising the economic prosperity of our residents.
Using these partnerships allowed us to expand the APPEAL and IMPORTANCE of what we do. We are not only taking away the stigma of “technical education is for those who can’t make it academically” we were participating in a campaign that people could tangibly point to and understand what we do – and we expanded our base of stakeholders. We have been able to attract grant money for this specific educational marketing campaign that would not have previously been available to us.
So, how do you get more engaged in economic development? WHO – everyoneWhen – immediately What – build relationships – not just for the now, but for the future
If you don’t know who is actively engaged in ED in your community, get to know them, meet with them face to face. Because there are so many facets that comprise ED, you will need to embrace them all. Your struggle shouldn’t be mission creep, but mission enhancement.Using social media is more than just connecting on Linked In and following each other on Twitter. Not just using social media to identify and connect with partners – it becomes an important platform to tell your story.
With that said, you need to use social media, but it is more than just connecting on Linked In and following each other on Twitter. Use the social media tools as an entry point for opening dialogue with organizations and professionals who were not part of your traditional circle, set up meetings and gather support for your organization.
TELL your story in as many forms of media expression as you can - to layer your message and stories and make connections. We do!
We still use face to face communications to further our existing relationships and establish new ones. We also use them to ensure that our funding sources are well aware of our activity throughout the year, now just when we are up for annual funding renewal.
The Ride To Prosperity provides STRATEGIES FOR ECONOMIC COMPETITIVENESS IN GREATER READING – it is a multi- year plan to raise the level of economic prosperity and we partnered on it. It was about cooperation AND coordination.
We not only partner locally, we partner statewide. This is not about head to head competition. This is about raising the level of economic health in all our communities. “We partner shamelessly with everyone.” The state (particularly DCED and OIBD) have been very appreciative of our cooperative approach.
I have an AICP from the American Planning Association and a CEcD from the International Economic Development Council. Though I have been involved in development for 27 years, there are always new approaches, best practices, what is coming next, who can be a new PARTNER! There is always more to learn and more ideas for how my organization can be successful.
The Pennsylvania Economic Development Association (PEDA) PEDA’s mission is to promote sound economic development policies, provide leading edge economic development education, and nurture an effective statewide economic development network to foster the economic health of the Commonwealth. This is an organization that understands that economic development = community development = quality housing = workforce development. They are integral pieces for fostering economic health. It is not one without the other.
PEDA formed the PEDI to address the critical importance of professional training and certification. The central principle guiding DCED’s decision was the importance of having certified economic development organizations become and remain current in the practice of economic development – with a focus on skills relating to loan administration – and demonstrating professional credibility through continued professional development at the organizational level. As you can see, there is substantial range in the type of workshops and webinars that are available. These workshops and webinars are available at reasonable cost. There are also other professional trade organization that offer a range of topics. For example: ULI - Private Equity Capital: Understanding and Navigating the OptionsPPA – Historic Preservation and Alternative Energy
I would like to invite anyone to attend the Annual Fall 2013 conference in Pittsburgh. Please sign on to our website to register. I would particularly invite anyone to come for even one day of the conference to check out our organization and network with professionals from across the Commonwealth. You can follow the conference activity on Twitter.
Enhancing Economic Development Opportunities
Opportunities For Housing
Pamela Shupp, AICP, CEcD
Greater Reading Economic Partnership
AEDO designation is a clear
indicator that an organization is
• Ongoing training and education
• Strategic planning
• Cooperation and coordination with
other community partners and
The world of community and economic
development is changing rapidly. It is not
enough to only know and be comfortable
with your own alphabet soup.
Your alphabet soup needs to expand to
include acronyms like:
FDI, OIBD, WIB, CRIZ, FTZ, BFTP, IRC, KOZ,
KIZ, WedNet, and of course CY2.
As resources diminish, we have to be
creative about how we sustain staff,
operations, and still have money to
accomplish our missions and do projects.
Example of our reprioritization of strategy
and the need for partners
Real estate development and company
location decisions used to be about
location, location, location
It is now primarily about workforce,
In business retention interviews with 100+
Greater Reading companies:
47% identified the lack of necessary skill sets
26% identified the lack of technical skills as
their hiring challenges
We worked with our education, workforce
and business partners to create a
marketing campaign called Careers in Two
We worked collaboratively with:
Reading Area Community College
Career and Technology schools:
Berks Career and Technology Center
Reading Muhlenberg Career and Technology
Who are the partners?
Who are your partners?
When should I engage my partners?
How can I connect with them?
How does my organization become an
active economic development player?
• Meet with your EDO or ALO
• Use social media to expand contacts
• Expand communication with the
community and your stakeholders
You need to have as many relationships
and contacts as possible.
CAUTION! Social media did not take the
place of relationship building.
Company Page: Greater Reading Economic Partnership
blog.greaterreading.comGreater Reading blog
Communication and Public Support
• One-on-one quarterly meetings with County
Commissioners–we tell them what we are seeing (and
not seeing) in terms of activity.
• Quarterly Steering Committee meeting made up of
peer agencies & organizations
• BF, MRC, IDA
• County Planning Commission
• Higher Education Council, Chamber –
• Keep lines of communication open with all our
Coordination & Cooperation of Community Partners
Ride to Prosperity
As an individual and as an organization,
you need to have an ongoing commitment
to professional development and training.
Positioning you and your organization
for success as an economic
Professional development, training,
and networking opportunities.
Upcoming workshops and webinars
• Best Practices in Effectively Utilizing Economic
• When Small Colleges Connect, Big Things Happen!
• Redeveloping Blighted Properties: Financing
• Workforce Development: Best Practices in
October 21 – 23, 2013
2013 PEDA Fall Conference
Any Street, Any Town, PA
Pamela J. Shupp, AICP, CEcD
Pennsylvania Economic Development Association
Greater Reading Economic Partnership
201 Penn Street, Suite 502
Reading, PA 19601