The RGP published a draft Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy on Monday, September 15th. It is open for public comment until October 15th.
Download it from the RGP CEDS page.
I have skimmed it and plan to submit a formal response.
Some background information:
- The main purpose of a CEDS appears to be “paperwork” to file with the US Economic Development Administration. Doing a CEDS has several purposes (PDF): getting funding is one of them.
- You can find CEDS for other regions & counties online. A few of interest: Columbus OH Region (2012 with 2014 update), Northeast Ohio Four County (2013 with 2014 update), Cleveland/Cuyahoga County (PDF, 2009), Seneca County (PDF, 2011), Sandusky County (2013 update), Dayton Region (PDF, 2012), Monroe County (PDF, 2013 draft), Southeast Michigan (2014 update), Maumee Valley (2012).
- Even though this CEDS is labeled “NW Ohio / SE Michigan” it is really specific to 4 counties: Lucas, Wood, Ottawa (Ohio), Monroe (Michigan).
The table of contents:
- Executive summary
- Stakeholder engagement
- Regional background assessment
- Location factor assessment
- Target industry study
- Analysis of ED issues
- Strategic projects and activities
- Recommended ED strategy
Only 179 pages! Lots to read!
The Toledo Business Journal has been doing “Workforce updates” on a regular basis: quarterly collections of lists, data and stories in collaboration with RGP & JobsOhio. People from Owens Community College workforce training appear to be leading it.
I catch the 2-page printed spreads when I get a chance to pick up a TBJ or Development News. I just discovered they are one of the few things published by TBJ online (as PDFs): the TBJ Economic Development Dashboard. Taking a glance at the collection:
- Some of the lists, graphs, and data make more sense when you look across quarters. For example, the “Top 10 corporations hiring,” “Projects by cluster,” and “Jobs created & retained” do not tell you very much one quarter at a time, but if you compare Q2Q, you start to learn a little bit.
- The more interesting (to me) feature articles: Manufacturers roundtables (March 2013), Welcoming communities (September 2013), and Foreign direct investments and exporting (March 2014).
- The last two – “It matters where you make it” (June 2014) and “Selling NW Ohio across the world” (September 2014) – show the evolution of the branding, marketing and selling strategies for the region. As a whole, the region is reaching out to a broader range of stakeholders, including residents. We are doing a better job of targeting specific audiences, such as talent and site consultants, with stories that are relevant for each.
If you have never read any of the Workforce updates (because maybe you do not pick up paper copies at grocery stores like I do), then check them out online.
I attend the EPIC Toledo Summit on Thursday, November 1, 2012. My notes from the Economic Development track:
Dean Monske, RGP, on the Privatization of economic development in the region.
- The talk was titled “White House Summit on Economic Development”, but Dean did not have a lot to say about that. I could not find a lot about it online either, just this blog posting. Dean was invited because of his experience with international development (e.g., getting Chinese investment in the region). Workforce development was apparently a theme of the meeting as well.
- Dean then gave a history lesson about the RGP, how it started as a public entity and then was privatized: for the better, removing some of the politics and enabling work with companies in private.
- JobsOhio was mentioned as another privatization of ED positive example. Commitment letters to companies wishing to locate in the state have dropped from 9 months to as little as 3 days.
- Regional decision-making and regional cooperation (such as NORED) are also key factors that have improved ED in the area. It took a while to get all of the regional pieces in place: I believe the quote was “meta-plan circus” about some of the 2008-ish efforts. The meta-plan days were when I started getting tangentially involved.
- Dean also went into detail about the sales and marketing strategy that RGP uses to target key site selectors and business leaders. It is not about putting ads in magazines and going to trade shows any more: it is about building relationships with the individuals that matter. The “product” – our region’s assets – sells well when you tell the right people.
- I only recall one mention of the Toledo Region branding efforts. When talking about workforce development, Dean mentioned the tougher sell for attracting talent to the region (vs. developing programs to train people who already live here). The regional branding work was an effective tool for talent attraction: that is my interpretation of his comments, at least.
Paul Zito, RGP, on International aspects of economic development in the region.
- Paul’s talk was both entertaining (I did not realize my German and French language skills would be put to the test!) and informative. At the heart of his talk was his personal journey, from international sales in the film industry (which I asked about, just as Dean told us to do), to working for the state of Ohio in Europe, to how he chose to work with us in the Toledo region.
- He presented data on “international in” (Foreign Direct Investment) and “international out” (Exporting) for the US, midwest, Ohio and the region.
- Hopefully I can get a copy of his slides and post a link to them here: I did not take detailed notes. [November 9 update: Paul sent me a copy of his slides and gave me permission to post them here (PDF). Thanks, Paul!]
The Future of Toledo session was also interesting. Check out the live stream recording of the session: I am at the 33 minute mark, maybe elsewhere. Read over the Strategic Plan (PDF) and plan on attending the November 29th session to get more involved.
I think this was my first official EPIC Toledo event. It was well worth it: I will have to try harder to attend more of them.