Growing Wages and Jobs: How City Government Can Help Lead in Workforce Development and Public Education

How To, Guide, or Manual National Resource Network September 15, 2018 Workforce Development

City governments have a vested interest in a strong local economy. Economic conditions dictate whether cities are attractive for residents and businesses and, in turn, drive the local tax base. A healthy local economy requires a well-educated and skilled workforce.

Most city governments, however, have little direct responsibility for the administration of workforce development programs or their public school systems. As a result, there is rarely coordination between economic development programs, workforce development efforts, and K-12 or higher education. Instead, most city governments focus their economic development efforts toward business recruitment, financing new projects, or helping existing firms expand.

As cities continue to invest in strategies that will enhance and/or sustain their economic competitive advantage, it is important to recognize the importance of preparing all residents to succeed in the labor force. Individuals benefit directly in terms of higher wages. Communities benefit indirectly as workers secure stable employment and move out of poverty – tax revenues increase, and government realizes savings associated with reduced spending on crime, health care, and social services.

In May 2017, NRN convened representatives from five cities (Baltimore, MD; Passaic, NJ; Salinas, CA; Waco, TX; and Winston-Salem, NC) to discuss their experiences leading efforts to link economic development to workforce development and education. Based on their insights and our work with these cities and others, we have identified common challenges, strategies, and “promising practices” that city governments can implement to support a well-educated and skilled workforce necessary for business attraction, retention, and expansion.

This report – Growing Wages and Jobs: How City Government Can Help Lead in Workforce Development and Public Education – is the final product of that research. Deb Vaughn of network consortium member PFM and consultant on several Network engagements authored the report.

growing wages report

Growing Wages and Jobs: How City Government Can Help Lead in Workforce Development and Public Education

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