Learn From Those Doing Things Well

Expanding Growth and Opportunity: Findings from the Brookings-Rockefeller Project on State and Metropolitan Innovation” represents four years of work by the Project on State and Metropolitan Innovation (PSMI). PSMI is an attempt to rethink economic development in a way that expands opportunity for all by expanding and retaining good jobs.

The project has worked in 22 communities in seven states and found several overarching themes from each case, including:

  • Working across programmatic and jurisdictional boundaries is essential for success;
  • Effective programs require long-term commitments, but financing is often temporary;
  • Entrenched interests and systems resist change, and many public resources are constrained by established programs; and
  • Big changes require a holistic approach, but moving on too many fronts can overwhelm the effort.

Included in the report are several case studies, three of which are described below.

An alliance between Lexington and Louisville, Kentucky, the Bluegrass Economic Advancement Movement(BEAM) helped create a paid apprenticeship program at the state’s Toyota plant. The program now is being replicated in Toyota’s seven other U.S. factories. BEAM has also created a manufacturing career center and export-promotion program.

Nevada has taken a STEM-heavy approach to economic development, creating Battle Born Ventures – a state-financed venture capital program – and the Knowledge Fund, a $10 million pool for investments in research, innovation, and technology commercialization.

Northeast Ohio’s Fund for our Economic Future created 200 manufacturing jobs through the Partnership for Regional Innovation Services to Manufacturing (PRISM), which invests in innovative small- and medium-sized manufacturers. The Fund also granted $500,000 to WorkAdvance, an initiative that places low-income individuals in high-demand career fields with clear growth trajectories.

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