Sessions by Track

 

Reimagining Economic Development

Drawing from the Brookings Institution’s recent report, Remaking Economic Development, this conference will seek to spark a conversation around how we might transform our economic development efforts to foster greater bottom-prosperity throughout all of our communities. The identification of potential economic, social, and environmental outcomes to consider for boosting regional competitiveness is important to consider in this transformation.

Sunday, September 30 | 12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Historically, economic development organizations have sought funding from the public sector, with the total amount received making up a significant portion of their budget. However, the problem with public funding is the uncertainty of appropriations. Over the past decade public funding has declined in many markets, while other locations have surged based on the political interests of key decision-makers.

This session will feature public EDOs as well as public-private partnerships and will showcase alternatives to procure funding. The session will also demonstrate how the private sector can provide some funding lost from the public sector and will give an overview of effective fundraising techniques.

What you will learn:
• Effective ways to market and fundraise for your economic development organization
• Strategies for approaching private funding options
• Ideas for pursuing new funding streams through various types of services, taxes, and fees

Sunday, September 30 | 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

A number of agricultural projects have made national headlines due to the environmental impacts and increased congestion that such development brings to communities. Though these projects have the potential to increase the commercial tax base and bring jobs to rural communities, the process for introducing projects of this magnitude must be carefully managed, as residents are sensitive to how they will impact local quality of life.

This session will:
• Cover issues related to attraction and expansion projects that have drawn heavy and relentless criticism
• Draw on the experience of economic developers who have managed the challenges of large agricultural projects
• Hear solutions based on lessons learned

Monday, October 1 | 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Historically, EDOs and Investment Promotion Agencies have often viewed each other as competitors, but inclusive and innovative economic development requires cooperating across industries, borders, and cultures. How can EDOs foster mutually-beneficial collaborations with similar organizations and IPA's? This panel will provide actionable insights on ways to develop regional and international partnerships that can provide value to your community.

What you will learn:
• How collaboration between EDOs and similar organizations can better connect to global markets and the global supply chains
• How to construct mutually-beneficial relationships with IPAs in other countries to create business-to-business linkages
• How to find opportunities for cross border workforce development exchanges as a means of upgrading skill sets

Monday, October 1 | 1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Join the Economic Development Research Partners (EDRP) - the national think tank of IEDC - as they introduce their latest publication. This session will highlight what's in the paper, along with a panel discussion featuring case studies from the paper.

Tuesday, October 2 | 2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

New scenario planning and forecasting tools help economic development agencies to better understand emerging changes in the global economy, technology, world trade, and potential disruptive events as part of their economic development plans and strategies. This session will show how future national and global scenarios can be viewed and translated into effects on local economic competitiveness, labor force needs, and business attraction. Demonstrate how local leadership can consider and anticipate the wider effects of these external factors and incorporate them to gain broader economic advantage and adopt economic resiliency policies.

What you will learn:
• How to identify looming global and national market shifts that can advance economic resilience and growth strategies
• How global shifts will be changing the relative economic competitiveness of local areas
• How EDOs that consider future scenarios will be better positioned to defend and expand their markets in the future

Tuesday, October 2 | 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

When reform occurs at the federal level it creates change and consequences for economic developers across the nation. The change could provoke a modification in the organizational structure of EDOs, or it can leave EDOs wondering about what kinds of changes they may need to make in operating. This session will focus on dissecting the implications that 2017's tax reform has on economic development.

What you will learn:
• How the new tax reform affects economic development at the regional, state and federal level
• You'll gain insights into the ways EDOs can adapt to changes in law

Wednesday, October 3 | 7:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.

Many economic development success stories can be found in communities located outside metropolitan statistical areas. In 1993, the designation of micropolitan statistical areas (MICROs) was adopted by the U.S. Census. These counties with communities of 10,000 to 49,999 are located throughout the United States. In developing clusters and shorter supply chains, these MICROs provide a variety of benefits for companies. Understanding the concept of MICROs and their role in economic development can assist smaller cities and counties with the realities of economic development. For larger cities, this will help provide an understanding of areas that can be of benefit and support for their larger employers. Being successful in a smaller market is full of challenges, and this session will provide takeaways that can be used by many economic development organizations in their strategic planning. This session will provide tips that can be used by many economic development organizations in their strategic planning.

What you will learn:
• How smaller communities can plan strategy to help position themselves for economic success.
• The importance of MICROs to larger communities.
• A better understanding of MICROs.

Wednesday, October 3 | 9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Join your fellow conference attendees for a friendly chat with the most experienced economic developers in the field. This conversation with "silver suite" economic developers will share lessons from lifetimes of experience in economic development. Listen in as these experts share what they see in the evolving future of the economic development profession.

Wednesday, October 3 | 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

More than 80 percent of job creation in every state comes from existing businesses. Yet the scales remain unbalanced on resources allocated to a recruiting versus a growing from within strategy. Designed as an open question and answer forum, this interactive discussion will involve the audience throughout the session as we explore proven ways economic developers can become as good at starting and growing companies as recruiting them.

What you will learn:
• How to develop an entrepreneurship-led growth strategy despite community size and location
• Immediate, long-term and tested solutions to intentionally build entrepreneurship, including often overlooked champions among women and minority-owned businesses
• How Louisiana Economic Development became a trusted source to 159 rural companies that created 1,367 jobs in six years

 

Growing from Within

The most sustainable form of economic development is realized through fostering home-grown opportunities. From business retention and expansion and entrepreneur development to tourism product development and workforce development, this conference will seek to show how focusing on building upon and strengthening their existing assets can yield organic gains in economic development for communities of all sizes and circumstances.

Sunday, September 30 | 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Discuss how economic developers tap into available statistics and learn how to use data to identify economic strengths and weaknesses so you can quickly "tell your story" to eager site selectors and local stakeholders. The goal is to allow the data to speak before the conversation begins. Presenters will touch on the economic theory underlying development. This session will be both informative and collaborative as presenters provide ideas, but also endeavor to learn more about how data is currently used by attendees. We'll also explore where developers, location consultants and site selectors have the greatest need for additional information.

What you will learn:
• How to properly highlight your community's key assets on your website to immediately grab attention
• What statistics are available on your community's business sector
• Case studies of the use of data to communicate competitive advantages by economic developers

Monday, October 1 | 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Traditionally, economic developers have defined business retention & expansion (BR&E) as an annual visitation and survey process with private-sector employers. This static model is often at odds with the dynamic nature of globally competitive companies. This session will identify and explore new, cost-effective tools and techniques that allow economic developers to actively intersect with, and engage, their most dynamic private-sector constituents. These new tools for BR&E have the added benefit of relationship-building and additing strategic value over traditional, inwardly focused survey-centric models.

What you will learn:
• What are the new BR&E methodologies that will help you keep pace with dynamic, global firms
• How to use new, cost effective BR&E tools that will promote continual communication with your businesses
• Benefits of relationship-making versus data gathering approaches to BR&E

Monday, October 1 | 1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Many economic development professionals today feel as though they are at a crossroads, facing a choice between preserving and growing existing industrial assets and supporting a trends toward innovation- and amenities-focused economies. Must these two be mutually exclusive? Join this session for a discussion on an intriguing new topic.

What you will learn:
• How to grow your industrial assets and innovation-based economies in tandem
• How a thoughtful industrial strategy can align with equitable economic development goals
• The role of port authorities as drivers of equitable economic growth

Monday, October 1 | 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Before, during and after a natural or manmade disaster, it's all hands on deck to meet the economic preparedness and recovery needs of the community. Over the years, IEDC members have participated in numerous economic recovery programs with the U.S. Economic development Administration and other federal partners. In this session, we invite partners who participated in various recovery efforts to share the available resources in their toolboxes and how they have worked with community leaders for the common goal of economic recovery and resiliency following natural disasters.

What you will learn:
• Hear on the ground lessons learned from federal officials
• Discover the tools that are being used to support economic recovery around the U.S. and beyond,
• Learn how different economic recovery tools can be used together

Tuesday, October 2 | 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Reusing old and obsolete real estate and transforming it into something productive for society is the type of innovation that defines excellent economic development. Communities around the world have vacant and underutilized spaces that offer opportunities to become places of social activity and centers of commerce. This session will look at a variety of case studies to demonstrate the rags to riches approach some communities have achieved.

What you will learn:
• What types of properties and buildings are most suitable for redevelopment?
• How can you engage your community in a transformative process of redevelopment?
• What types of impact have economic developers seen after renovating vacant and abandoned properties?

Wednesday, October 3 | 7:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.

Universities and hospitals ("Eds" and "Meds) have become key engines of economic activity in both urban and rural communities alike. Now, they are thinking through ways to leverage that economic activity to promote inclusive economic development strategies. This new approach--often called "adopting an anchor mission"--is the focus of this session. It will look at how Eds and Meds can use their supply chain, employment needs, real estate development pipelines, and investment management towards supporting inclusive economic growth. Speakers will be drawn from places that have been working to implement an anchor mission, including possibly Cleveland, Ohio; Brownsville, Texas; New Orleans, Louisiana, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The panelists will intentionally be at different phases in development of their anchor strategy, with some well-developed and others still in an organizing phase and will also include national experts from the Democracy Collaborative and the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

This session will:
• Help attendees understand how to craft a successful marketing pitch to their local Eds and Meds, what sort of support public or philanthropic actors may need to provide to enable the anchors to act, and how to measure and track outcomes from an anchor engagement.
• Include discussions on small business development, workforce development, affordable housing, community investments, and community engagement.

What you will learn:
• How to get universities and hospitals to support local economic development goals.
• Things that you can do to improve small business supply chains
• Ways to create career pathways for low and moderate skilled workers

Wednesday, October 3 | 7:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.

"If you are prepared to invite global companies to invest in your state, then you have to be prepared to welcome them locally." This session will address the importance of building local and regional economic development capacity in order to prepare your state to welcome international investment. This session will examine the roles of the state, region and local EDOs, as well as critical components that international companies look for and expect when considering new investment locations. Demonstrate how effective partnering can overcome significant obstacles such as local infrastructure that is not fully supportive or budgets that don't allow for overseas travel.

What you will learn:
• How to manage and support the economic development priorities set forth by your state with resources you have in your region and locality
• Tips on leveraging partnership and resource opportunities so you are prepared to welcome international investment
• How to effectively build your community's capacity for ongoing communication with potential new industries

Wednesday, October 3 | 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

The Working Cities Challenge, sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, is a grant competition for small- and mid-size cities to create cross-sector collaboration working on long-term inclusive economic development goals that benefit lower-income residents. The Challenge will support innovative, home-grown initiatives in 16 cities by the time this panel is held. Most of the cities in question are former mill towns that struggle with job loss and creating new economic visions, while also being host to large immigrant populations. The Challenge is based on research that shows that collaboration and leadership are key to mill cities that have successfully revitalized, rather than particular economic development strategies. This session will focus on city-based cross-sector collaborations to improve economic outcomes for low- and moderate-income residents in New England's struggling smaller cities.

What you will learn:
• Collaborations across sectors are key to successful economic development
• Focus and build upon local assets and advantages
• Linkages to residents are created with strategy and intentionality

 

Widening the Circle

Perhaps the most proven way for widening the circle of those who can benefit through our economic development efforts is to invest in our people. This conference will showcase how communities can leverage their educational and other assets to help our people, from infanthood to elderhood, join the adaptive workforce needed by employers. This is especially critical in the face of the growing skills gap that can be observed in communities, small and large.

Sunday, September 30 | 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

As economic developers, the majority of our jobs are based in the public sector, at public-private organizations, or at community-based organizations. In these positions, economic developers gain valuable information, and the private sector is certainly taking notice. In recent years we have seen more law firms, real estate companies, large corporations, accounting and management consulting firms hiring experienced economic developers.This session will feature economic developers that have parlayed their years of experience into lucrative private sector positions.

What you will learn:
• The skills and abilities that the private sector finds attractive in economic developers
• An understanding of the politics on either side of economic development employment and how it impacts your job
• What training and adjustment is necessary for economic developers who wish to transition to private sector employment

Monday, October 1 | 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

This Round Robin session will allow attendees to visit with each case study for intimate 15-minute conversations. Background information on each case study will be provided to attendees in advance, so that you can familiarize yourself with the case studies and come to the Round Robin prepared to ask questions. Groups will rotate between each case study until participants have visited all case studies within 90 minutes.

A. Workforce Development for Individuals with developmental Disabilities: Spectrum Living Solutions is a social enterprise in Fayetteville, Arkansas, that has deployed a new model for economic and workforce development for those with autism and other developmental disabilities. Through strong partnerships with educational institutions, health care, city-based economic developers and the private sector, the presenters will discuss how this new initiative is serving as a catalyst for corporations and small businesses to hire, train, and support a historically-underutilized workforce.

B. Economic Development Leadership in Workforce development: For years, economic developers have known that workforce development is often the most important issue businesses face when considering an expansion or relocation. However, many economic developers struggle to identify the role that they can and should play in their community's workforce development. This session will highlight two regional economic development organizations that have taken leadership in the space.

C. Anchor Collaborative in New Orleans: Launched in 2014 through a partnership with NOLABA, Network for Economic Opportunity, Greater New Orleans Foundation and 15 major employers, this program is committed to expanding employment and contracting opportunities to local residents and businesses. The Anchor Collaborative was formed to deliver customized strategies to help businesses connect to a needed workforce and strives to connect disadvantaged job seekers to opportunities.

D. Data – Knowledge – Action: A 2017 IEDC award-winning project, this case study will focus on how it is possible to have workforce development success in a rural area. Lee County Economic development Group used creativity and relationship building to bring together industries, schools, students, partner agencies, and stakeholders to develop a new set of workforce initiatives.

E. Bastrop Youth Career Day: Bastrop Youth Career Day is one of the key community initiatives to advance high school graduate workforce readiness while enhancing economic development. This is an annual event for juniors and seniors that couples formal presentations by business professionals with a career fair featuring employers and post-secondary educational institutes.

Monday, October 1 | 12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Economic development professionals can support local, state, and national efforts to improve access to early learning and child care in numerous ways. The economic development sector can shine a light on workforce needs and how early investments can support the growth of the future workforce. Economic developers can also work with local business organizations to help business leaders who are interested in quality child care systems that allow parents to enter the workforce and help children prepare for school. We can also support child care programs that in themselves are small businesses that can benefit from business training and financing -- services that economic development offices can help provide or help child care businesses connect with.

What you will learn:
• How early childhood development sets the trajectory for human capital development and workforce productivity
• What economic development policy and practices can support the early learning sector
• Why business leaders benefit from a high-quality child care system that helps parents enter the workforce and be more productive on the job

Monday, October 1 | 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Economic development organizations are continually innovating on ways to attract new businesses and residents to their communities. But in many cases, all the billboards, websites, and postcards will not bring the needed investment and jobs to their communities if they omit messages of inclusion to people from marginalized populations. This includes those from the LGBT community. This session will feature jurisdictions that have achieved success with strategies of inclusion and diversity in how they portray their community.

What you will learn:
• Exploring the correlation between inclusion of LGBT and economic vitality of a community
• How to promote, not hide, the diversity of your community
• Combating harmful policies and reputations that prevent your community from being inclusive and welcoming

Tuesday, October 2 | 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

North America is turning silver at a rapid pace, and in fact, some 10,000 Baby Boomers are retiring each day. While many economic developers are already considering how an aging population will negatively impact job growth and wealth creation, there is an upside to this demographic shift that should also be considered: many people who are at or near retirement age are still interested in participating in the workforce or starting businesses of their own. Tapping into this wealth of experience is a strategy that more communities are using today. Join this session and discussion to learn what local and regional economic development programs are making a difference.

What you will learn:
• How retiree programs can be better integrated into local/regional economic development
• Best practices for helping your community's seniors continue to meaningfully contribute to the local economy
• Available resources to help EDOs expand programs for the silver generation

Tuesday, October 2 | 2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Despite a strengthening economy since the Great Recession, many communities still find that they have a large segment of the working-age population with no education beyond high school. Low levels of educational attainment, as well as other barriers to employment contribute to the middle-skill gap, a mismatch between labor demands and available and qualified workers to fill positions. The skills challenge is more pronounced among minority populations, which tend to have lower educational attainment and higher rates of unemployment and poverty. Some states have adopted demand-driven workforce development strategies to address the middle-skill gap. These strategies seek to connect postsecondary training to employer demands through a variety of private, public and philanthropic funding sources.

What you will learn:
• How to connect workforce development strategies to industry demand
• How to align workforce development and economic development goals with scalable strategies
• Ways to address barriers to education and workforce training with innovative and flexible programs

Tuesday, October 2 | 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Educational institutions develop the future workforce, and industry continues to find difficulty in sourcing qualified candidates for available positions. The New York Fed has collaborated with educational institutions across New York State to strengthen greater understanding of the ways in which the industry can support the development of the labor force, as well as the systems that support it.

Presenters will:
• Share lessons learned from a video campaign that tasked students with creating brief videos demonstrating professional and technical skills in growing industries in the Greater Rochester region, as well as how the P-TECH model (Pathways in Technology Early College High School) is charting new territory between the education and private sectors to prepare the workforce for local, in-demand jobs and tackle the middle-skills gap.
• Show brief clips from the video campaign, as well as learn about resources for incorporating work-based learning strategies in their communities.
• Highlight findings from a recent survey and provide examples on partnership development.

What you will learn:
• The benefits and challenges to industry and educational partnerships
• The varying levels of engagement found between employers and educational institutions

Wednesday, October 3 | 7:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.

Across the country, cities are wrestling with how economic incentives should be deployed amidst shifting market conditions, spirited discussions over public policy priorities, the need for transparency, and growing recognition of the magnitude of public expenditures associated with these tools. This session will explore innovative opportunities for local jurisdictions to more effectively use their incentive programs to support inclusive growth and development, including fostering job quality, workforce development opportunities, investment in distressed neighborhoods, and housing upgrades.

What you will learn:
• Best practices of incentive deployment from cities across the US
• The perception of the use of incentives and how to craft their delivery to work towards core policy objectives
• Ways to track and evaluation incentives' performance using metric-based analysis

Wednesday, October 3 | 9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Rural communities have opportunities to attract and grow industries based on developing and implementing economic development strategies aligned to local or regional strengths. Growth strategies are far more successful when they include proof that a skilled workforce exists in the region. Third party industry-recognized credentials enable communities to demonstrate they have the workers with the skills needed to be trained for jobs. But often this can be difficult in areas with lean resources. Learn how ACT and Site Selection magazine are teaming up with rural economic development experts to help leverage resources that can do just that. Hear from one northeast region of North Carolina how they have used industry certifications to retain, expand and recruit new businesses to their rural communities. Panelists will discuss steps communities can take to further strengthen their workforce development planning and how to connect resources together to create win-win approaches. Information will be shared on how to obtain data and leverage it to show they have the skilled workers needed and a talent pipeline to support their target industries.

What you will learn:
• How Site Selection Magazine uses industry certification in its rankings
• Practical suggestions from rural economic development policy expert on how to further effective workforce development efforts
• Best practice example from rural region on workforce development efforts that work

Wednesday, October 3 | 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Economic development often involves extending and creating opportunity to and within multiple communities. Changing economies can raise questions about inclusivity and gentrification. Around the world, leaders are asking how to grow economies while being inclusive of multiple communities. This session will engage participants about the pedagogy and hands-on use of PlaceIt!, a new methodology for facilitating engagement with business owners, residents, agencies, and other stakeholders. PlaceIt! provides an art and creative-building strategy that cuts across recognized barriers of age, race, language, ethnicity, and background to promote inclusive economic development and growth.

What you will learn:
• Discover a hands-on strategy that surfaces new perspectives on economic development
• Build teamwork through art to create strong bonds and break barriers
• Dig deep into questions of: business retention and attraction, economic impact, and informal and formal economies through the lens of equity and inclusion

 

Placemaking

Creating a quality of place that can be enjoyed by all people requires an intersection of community planning and economic development efforts. Today’s economic developers are increasingly concerned with partnering with other community leaders in improving place-based assets such as housing, healthcare, education, food and recreation amenities, and transportation modes. This conference will aim to feature best practices for partnering in place making.

Sunday, September 30 | 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Hear insights from corporate real estate directors of Fortune 500 companies on the processes and strategies they employ in making location decisions. Arranged in small group conversations with experts, this session offers the opportunity to interact in a more intimate setting with prominent decision-makers. Blending information from the corporate real estate process with the opportunity to discuss current challenges and trends, this is a session you won't want to miss.

What you will learn:
• The top factors Fortune 500 companies consider when entering into a new market
• Tips to make your community more attractive to commercial investors
• How to effectively respond to RFPs that highlights your community's assets

Monday, October 1 | 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Food has always played a major role in social interaction, presenting local culture and creating a sense of community. However, how we shop for food and the role it plays in our daily interactions has changed significantly. Food is a driver of economic and real estate investment. From traditional grocers to farmers' markets to food halls, to other forms of agritourism and farm-to-table movements, communities of all sizes are using food to drive traffic, attract residents, and fill obsolete space. This session will feature a panel of experts involved with a range of food formats to talk about this foodie culture and its importance to the local economy.

What you will learn:
• Economics of food-oriented real estate
• Fundamental principles for success including key partners, funders, lease requirements and more
• Opportunities to enhance entrepreneurial development from artisan products, local grocers, and urban farmers through co-ops and more

Monday, October 1 | 1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

This Round Robin session will allow attendees to visit with placemaking case study communities for intimate 20 minute conversations. Background information on each case study will be provided to attendees in advance so that they can familiarize themselves with the case and come to the Round Robin prepared to ask detailed questions. Groups will rotate around the room until they have visited will all case studies in 90 minutes.

A. Building Community Confidence Through Creative Placemaking: Citywide has used placemaking opportunities to transform neighborhoods, create gateways, and most importantly, restore confidence in the community in Dayton, Ohio. From transforming an abandoned intersection into a mini-park containing public art to reclaiming an overgrown inter-city lake that once was part of a 1890s amusement park, CityWide will highlight two completed projects and one on the drawing board to demonstrate how creative partnerships can create creative placemaking.

B. The Outfield Project – Leveraging Assets for Creative Placemaking: This session will use the IEDC Gold & Silver Excellence Award winning Lansing Lugnuts Outfield Redevelopment Project as an example of how to attract private development with public facilities. By leveraging existing assets communities can achieve: placemaking, downtown revitalization, talent attraction, and provide unique housing and affordable entertainment options.

C. Maintaining your Community's Authenticity: How can your city shape its public realm to create economic value and spur growth, while maintaining its true character and culture? Creative placemaking can become a platform for gentrifying a neighborhood without regard for its formative heritage and culture. Conversely, it can be a powerful tool to maintain authenticity and unify diverse communities when the right tools are applied.

D. Growing Wealth Through Placemaking: In a time of uncertainty of federal programs, communities that are feeling the crunch of municipal budgets must grow their own wealth. Placemaking, while often considered just a way to create beautiful places, is also a revolutionary tactic for preserving and distributing municipal and personal wealth. Learn how a sprawling growth model overwhelms city budgets, how cities and regions are generating investment from a focus on quality of life, and how marginalized neighborhoods are benefiting from an incremental, bottom-up development strategy.

Monday, October 1 | 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

People are not homogeneous in the way they process, consume, and act on marketing messages or economic development communications. Economic developers will walk away from this session equipped with the tools they need to target various generations from a marketing perspective, understanding how each group acts, thinks, feels, and makes purchasing decisions. This session will deconstruct generational differences as they relate to perceptions, attitudes, and opinions of the places where we live, work and play.

What you will learn:
• About current trends in high-level marketing tactics for four distinct generations – Millennials, Boomers, Silent Generation, and Gen Z
• Content strategies that influence and elicit actions from various generations
• Ideas for distinct, yet inclusive marketing campaigns that address generational gaps

Tuesday, October 2 | 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Did you know there are more public libraries than Starbucks in the U.S.-- a total of 17,566? Close to 100 million people went to a library program in 2016. That's more than all Major League Baseball and NBA games combined. As the need for such services as early childhood literacy, computer training, and workforce development grows, the vital role public libraries play in their communities has also expanded. For economic developers, it is vital that we create partnerships with our local libraries. This session will provide examples of library systems and economic developers that have joined forces in improving the quality of life in their communities through the implementation of strategic plans, goals and objectives.

What you will learn:
• Tools to engage your local library through sponsorship opportunities, business development courses and maker-spaces
• Ways to measure the ROI on your local library
• How to advocate for your local library through existing business networks such as your Chamber of Commerce

Tuesday, October 2 | 2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Trends in demographics, lifestyles, and global competition are attracting more investment and waves of people to downtowns. While this is obviously a good thing, this has its negative consequences, including: high housing costs, high costs of living, gentrification in neighborhoods, and the potential for one-dimensional cities that threaten the economic and social vitality of a city. Without intervention and investments to promote affordable housing and social equity in downtowns, many cities are at risk of losing what makes them authentic and lively. Local and regional organizations have a role in this debate to help shape local policies.

What you will learn:
• The role affordable housing plays in keeping downtowns lively places
• Greater understanding of how downtowns are active and involved in the affordable housing conversation
• Strategies for policies that promote the availability of affordable housing

Tuesday, October 2 | 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Planning for the economic health of America's cities has focused less on the impact on urban and neighborhood areas through gentrification caused by increasing costs from new investment in housing, transportation, recreation and business development. In the past decade, there has been a great deal of discussion about the meaning and causes of gentrification. Communities have pursued a range of initiatives --- from affordable housing and small business assistance to newer ideas such as land trusts. This panel will bring together advocates, practitioners and academics to discuss defining and measuring gentrification as well highlighting some of the more innovative and effective anti-gentrification techniques.

What you will learn:
• How gentrification impacts our communities
• Ways to measure gentrification
• Initiatives that have been successful in countering gentrification

Wednesday, October 3 | 7:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.

People that grew up in more suburban environments are moving to larger cities and downtowns for career reasons. Just because they are now city dwellers, many residents are not willing to give up spacious big box stores and upscale chains typically found in the suburbs. There is a trend at these chains entering denser urban environments in order to reach these loyal consumers. This session will look at industry trends in greater detail and contemplate the real estate implications.

What you will learn:
• Why typically suburban stores like Target and Whole Foods are gaining a foothold in urban downtowns
• How developers are responding to the desire for suburban-style living in the big city
• What type of retail and service businesses should be recruited into your downtown to keep up with other communities

Wednesday, October 3 | 9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

There is increasing attention, nationally and internationally, on the economic importance of the creative economy. Findings of two United Nations reports affirm that the creative economy is "not only one of the most rapidly growing sectors of the world economy, but also a highly transformative one, in terms of income-generation, job creation, and export earnings." According to these studies, the global creative economy more than doubled between 2002 and 2011. The creative industries are businesses, non-profit organizations, and self-employed individuals involved in the origination, production, and distribution of goods and services in which artistic and cultural content gives the product or service value in the marketplace.

This session will:
• Cover the five segments of the creative industries that drive economic growth and how economic developers can create entrepreneurial energy and support systems for their creative ecosystem.

What you will learn:
• Capitalize on the convergence of technology, creativity, and the arts. Grow and attract new businesses that target these creative industries as part of your economic development initiatives.
• Expand upon the creative business markets by improving access to business support services for creative entrepreneurs and freelancers.
• Turn on the regions talent pipeline by cross collaborating with educational institutions.

 

Pioneering New Opportunities

As innovation and technology on a global scale are changing the way we do business and the forces of “creative destruction” are moving at an accelerated pace, the old adage of “business as usual” no longer has a place in our economic development conversation. Our profession must rise to the challenge to explore new and entrepreneurial ways of helping all of our people and businesses thrive in ever-changing times. This conference will seek to leverage the Opportunity for All report of the Economic Development Research Partners and other resources in learning about pioneering approaches for fostering opportunities for everyone in the midst of changing times.

Sunday, September 30 | 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

While Atlanta has experienced tremendous economic growth over the past decade, economic development challenges still remain, especially for populated areas of the city where economic development has been more difficult. This session will demonstrate how Atlanta is approaching challenges head on through innovative economic development strategies, including engaging the private sector for place-making, leveraging underutilized assets, and rethinking workforce development approaches to mirror economic development.

What you will learn:
• How to raise awareness about the need to shift the paradigm in economic development to focus on more inclusive growth
• Ways to fostering greater economic inclusion by leveraging the untapped economic assets in low-income communities and communities of color
• The strength of collective action in moving from disconnected communities to an ecosystem of multiple organizations working together for greater impact

Monday, October 1 | 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Attracting and sustaining retail in distressed or long-vacant urban environments is no easy task. Cities with significant underserved markets face even greater challenges and continue to explore and redefine best practices for attracting retail businesses of all sizes. Underfinanced entrepreneurs, untested markets and new marketing concepts, as well as high barriers to entry in the form of regulatory and permitting issues all serve to hamper small business development. This session will explore how three major metro areas are using innovative strategies to introduce new retailing concepts, creative financing schemes, and regulatory tools to improve the downtown retail environment.

What you will learn:
• How data-driven social enterprise can serve as a tool to support retail as an element of transformative neighborhood change
• Innovative strategies to fill retail space in underserved neighborhoods
• What are some creative new practices in retail attraction and small business development

Monday, October 1 | 1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Communities across the U.S. are facing rising levels of income inequality, widening opportunity gaps and more severely distressed neighborhoods and populations. In many cases these disparities are a drag on the regions' advancement and morale. As economic developers, we have a general responsibility to grow our respective communities and aim for balanced growth. This session will help participants to identify and apply labor market data to support strategizing towards more inclusive economic development.

What you will learn:
• How to identify the critical occupations and industries that best match your targeted demographics
• Finding location and community data to localize your strategy
• Using postsecondary completion to map out career pathways

Tuesday, October 2 | 2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Home grown business development in rural communities requires a risk-taking spirit that is supported by community values and programs. Successful communities are those that have found a way to create a local culture and climate where entrepreneurs can thrive. This panel will profile successful rural entrepreneurial ecosystems and will share lessons learned and tips for building stronger rural communities.

What you will learn:
• Key things you should know about the unique issues and challenges that face rural entrepreneurs
• Lessons on how to build entrepreneurial ecosystems
• What local, state and federal policies le are available to help rural entrepreneurs

Tuesday, October 2 | 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

We know that young and often growing businesses are important sources of job creation, exports, and amenities for communities, thus making them critical to a vibrant local economy. Over the past two decades increases in the number of minority-owned business outpaced those of white-owned businesses (Fairlie and Robb, 2010). This change is fueled by increasing diversity across the country, state and local entities. Economic developers at the municipal, county and state levels along with nonprofits, angel/venture investors' banks, have an opportunity to leverage demographic changes to create policies, programs, and capital programs to support minority-owned businesses.

This panel will:
• Bring together a set of people who have effectively served minority-owned business by providing technical assistance and network development, conducive policy environments, and appropriate capital access strategies that help entrepreneurs get started on the right foot and grow.
• Share actionable best practices and pitfalls to avoid that will enable the audience to know where to start when cultivating a thriving minority-owned business sector.

What you will learn:
• Policy actions (public and private) that would support the growth of minority-owned businesses.
• Programs to address common challenges and gaps faced by minority-owned businesses.
• Credit and equity approaches to access capital.

Wednesday, October 3 | 7:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.

Technology is profoundly impacting how workers access information, identify job opportunities, and connect with employment. Access to broadband has become essential to make progress in all areas of economic development -- from education and workforce development to business development, health, housing, and access to financial services. Unfortunately, there's a significant digital skills gap across employment sectors. Digital inclusion is essential to workforce development and the future of work. This session will outline the best practices, funding opportunities, and the steps cities, counties and towns can take to build broadband infrastructure and digital inclusion/workforce development programs.

What you will learn:
• How to incorporate a Digital Inclusion Strategy into your economic development plan
• How digital inclusion impacts workforce development and business development
• Strategies for fundraising and financing of broadband and digital inclusion projects

Wednesday, October 3 | 9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

In today's environment of protectionism in a connected global market, organizations often must venture outside their local markets to engage in trade. E-commerce trade, digital trade, along with multi-nationals taking a nationalistic approach to foreign markets is commonplace in order for these companies to survive. This session will look at how to engage with international organizations and potential investors to meet their goals of pursuing a global presence in today's current trade environment.

What you will learn:
• Engaging international leads, existing partners and potential investors in the current trade climate
• Identifying export resources and how to use them
• Nurturing your foreign investors and entrepreneurs

Wednesday, October 3 | 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

According to the Brookings Institute, states and localities spend $50-$80 billion on tax breaks and incentives each year in the name of economic development, despite a mountain of evidence showing that tax incentives produce mostly marginal returns. These traditional approaches to economic development by local governments have not benefited all populations - and, in many cases, the policies and programs have particularly neglected or even shortchanged people of color, immigrants, and low income communities. Cities need to be intentional about targeting their economic development programs, funding and policies at the specific populations and neighborhoods that are increasingly distant from the growth sectors of their regional and city economies.

What you will learn:
• How a focus on equity is influencing economic development programs, services, and policies in American cities
• Understand the role that community engagement, organizing, partnerships, outreach, and cross-disciplinary collaboration is critical to the equitable economic growth in cities/regions
• Overview of how the cities of Austin, Baltimore, and Nashville are intentionally looking to make a systemic change in how they conduct economic development with an equity lens