FairPoint Communications, Inc, the local broadband provider, engaged VE to develop a comprehensive community economic development (CED) initiative to support sustainable growth of the economies of 40 counties in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. FairPoint has made a multi-year commitment to this project, called Connect NNE.
Connect NNE is currently collaborating with state, local and regional organizations that are developing collaborative, grass roots, asset-based CED initiatives to transform the regional economies of Northern New England. VE Alliance members are managing and implementing Connect NNE for FairPoint. Connect NNE initiatives are being designed with input from more than 2,000 business, education, government, healthcare and non-profit leaders.
VE is working with FairPoint’s external affairs teams, its state presidents and the President of FairPoint to develop their ability to implement and manage CED initiatives in collaboration with the communities they serve. Connect NNE efforts have already resulted in:
VE was engaged by Rural Partners Illinois, Southern Illinois Coal Belt Champion Communities and a number of telecommunication providers from 2003 to 2005 to build regional support capabilities for a regional asset-based community economic development initiative.
This engagement resulted in launching Connect SI in 2006. Connect SI is a collaborative, regional economic strategy for the 20 southernmost counties of Illinois. The initiative is built upon broadband connectivity, with the concept that its dispersed assets can be connected to make this region a driving force in the world economy. The goal of the project is to produce measurable, transformative, and sustainable results that will allow Southern Illinois to thrive rather than simply survive.
Through Southern Illinois University, ViTAL Economy was engaged by Connect SI to:
Connect SI’s strategic vision focuses on a triple bottom line of economic, social and environmental prosperity. It is connecting SI assets to act as one region with a common vision for its future. This vision is now supported by a comprehensive community economic development strategy. Its measurable goals include:
Connect SI will achieve global best-practice broadband availability for Southern Illinois by 2012 and has created a comprehensive healthcare strategy for all SI citizens.
REDI is a regional economic development initiative formed by the Southwest Tennessee Development District (SWTDD) that is focused on creating regional collaboration in West Tennessee. Over several years, SWTDD engaged Vital Economy (VE) to help it build leadership support and funding for a regional CED effort. In late Fall 2009, over 200 leaders from 14 counties of Southwest Tennessee attended a conference facilitated by VE, where they committed to form, support and lead REDI.
The goal of REDI is to create a public/private sector partnership that addresses issues affecting job creation and quality of life for West Tennessee citizens. Regional leaders are looking beyond county lines to create a unique vision that is distinctive and progressive. This forward thinking philosophy is critical to the success and growth of West Tennessee. The 12 counties supporting REDI individually represent average rural communities, but as a region, their combined population of 340,350 makes them the 4th largest “county” in the state. The consensus is that the future of economic development for this region is linked to transforming the educational culture and improving access to higher education for both youth and adults. A college access program (STEP) is one of the key components of this regional initiative. Other programs include wider access to broadband capabilities and other economic drivers that will move this region ahead.
The Connect Northern New England Economic Scenario Model™ is an Excel-based software tool that was created to provide information on existing economic conditions and quantify potential order-of-magnitude impacts of new developments and job creation scenarios in the 40-county, three state Northern New England (NNE) region. Over 100 Maine CED leaders have been trained in the use of this model. Hundreds of additional CED leaders will be trained starting in Fall 2010 as the Economic Scenario Model™ is launched in New Hampshire and Vermont.
The Economic Scenario ModelTM includes benchmarking and quantification tools to allow users to estimate the impact of CED initiatives on jobs, earnings, output and GDP. These initiatives refocus the economy from traditional and mature industrial sectors to emerging knowledge-based sectors.
The model also allows regional leaders to compare and contrast the economic impact of competing or alternative economic strategies. The model consists of 5 separate reports, each of which can provide data at the county, state, regional, and multi-state level:
The model was developed with input from a regional user group to ensure that it captures the nuances of each region and caters to the needs of community and economic development (CED) professionals in the region.
In April 2009, Governor John Baldacci announced a collaborative agreement with FairPoint’s Connect NNE program to help develop a new asset-based CED program serving the entire state of Maine. VE is facilitating this effort on behalf of FairPoint, the Department of Economic and Community Development and the six regional economic development districts of Maine.
Mobilize Maine is a collaborative private-public partnership that will develop regional CED capacity to build a more robust, resilient, diverse and sustainable knowledge-based economy across all economic regions of Maine. This partnership takes a fresh, asset-based approach to CED that builds on the indigenous strengths and authentic assets of Maine’s people, places and businesses.
Three of six economic regions have already developed measurable goals, which will:
Additional goals for reducing poverty rates, increasing educational attainment, reversing youth brain drain and preserving and enhancing Maine’s quality of life assets have also been established.
NMDC in collaboration with the privately funded Aroostook Partnership for Progress (APP) engaged VE to develop two industry cluster analysis projects. Achievements to date include:
© Vital Economy, Inc., All Rights Reserved. | Web Site Policies