Growing Cities That Work For All: A Capability-Based Approach To Regional Economic Competitiveness

Growing Cities That Work For All: A Capability-Based Approach To Regional Economic Competitiveness. Brookings Institution. Marcela Escobari et al. May 21, 2019.

Although today’s U.S. labor market is strong and unemployment is low, many working-age American remain marginalized. As communities across the country grapple with the challenges of an ever-evolving labor market, this report provides a framework for local leaders to grow good jobs through industrial development strategies that are based on their regions’ unique capabilities. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 52 pages].

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Preparing New York City High School Students for the Workforce: Evaluation of the Scholars at Work Program

Preparing New York City High School Students for the Workforce: Evaluation of the Scholars at Work Program. RAND Corporation.  Robert Bozick, Gabriella C. Gonzalez, Serafina Lanna, Monica Mean. March 28, 2019.

In 2009, the New York City Department of Small Business Services and Department of Education created Scholars at Work (SAW), a program available to high school seniors enrolled in Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs at city high schools that opted to participate. Implementation of SAW was the responsibility of Workforce1 Industrial & Transportation Career (ITC) Centers. The goal of SAW is to expose students to career opportunities, to provide them with real-life work experience alongside adults, and to develop their workplace skills. SAW has two core components, each a semester in length: a career exploration module and an internship that places high school seniors with employers. In career exploration, students engage in activities in a classroom setting designed to develop their soft skills and workplace competencies while learning about career opportunities through visits from industry experts. In the internship module, students participate in a paid, after-school internship at a local business for approximately 13 weeks.

Prepared in response to a 2016 request by the New York City Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity, this report presents the findings of an external evaluation of the SAW program — in particular, how well it is preparing students for employment and postsecondary education. Researchers conducted an implementation study that examined and described SAW’s activities and processes to understand the extent to which they function as the designers and implementers of the program intended. They also conducted an outcomes study to analyze how SAW participants are faring in the labor market, compared with similar graduates of New York City public schools. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 75 pages].

Innovative Financing Approaches for Affordable Rental Housing in the Chicago Region

Innovative Financing Approaches for Affordable Rental Housing in the Chicago Region. Urban Institute. Kathryn Reynolds, Leiha Edmonds, Erika C. Poethig. February 28, 2019

Solving America’s affordable housing crisis will mean increasing production of housing, protecting residents from eviction and foreclosure, and preventing the loss of current affordable housing stock.  For households unable to obtain housing benefits, unsubsidized “naturally occurring” rental housing provides the bulk of affordable housing in many markets. In the fall of 2018 Urban Institute conducted a series of interviews with staff from Community Investment Corporation (CIC), a community development financial institution (CDFI) in Chicago, the City of Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development and non-profit firm, Elevate Energy. Based on these interviews, we present several strategies to preserve unsubsidized housing stock that are present as aspects in the CIC programs studied. These are proactive program development, responsiveness to local conditions, pursuit and leveraging of partnerships, and strategic use of federal, state, and local policy levers. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 38 pages].

The Evolution of Bike Sharing: 10 Questions on the Emergence of New Technologies, Opportunities, and Risks

The Evolution of Bike Sharing: 10 Questions on the Emergence of New Technologies, Opportunities, and Risks. World Resources Institute. Christopher Moon et al. January 2019

This working paper seeks to provide decision makers at the city level a series of frequently asked questions and responses in order to assess the adoption and implementation of bike sharing. It is not designed to be a comprehensive guide to bike-sharing implementation, nor is it meant to provide prescriptive recommendations; rather, it offers questions and answers objectively in order to assist city officials to navigate through the recent developments and innovations of new and improved technologies, data, and business models relating to bike sharing. The emergence of new technologies, including dockless and electric bikes, is creating new opportunities, so much so as to raise the interest and risk concerns of city officials around the world. This publication aims to shed light on these. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 44 pages].

Partners or Pirates? Collaboration and Competition in Local Economic Development

Partners or Pirates? Collaboration and Competition in Local Economic Development. Urban Institute. Megan Randall et al. December 20, 2018

In this report, the authors explore how and why local governments have turned to cooperation to boost economic development. They synthesize highlights from the literature, explore program features from two regional case studies, and share findings from interviews with local practitioners. Although research on the effectiveness of current practices is limited, they identify themes that can inform cooperative economic development. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 67 pages].

Financing Dies in Darkness? The Impact of Newspaper Closures on Public Finance

Financing Dies in Darkness? The Impact of Newspaper Closures on Public Finance. Brookings Institution. Pengjie Gao, Chang Joo Lee, and Dermot Murphy. September 24, 2018

 Local newspapers in the United States have been steadily declining in recent years. Accompanying this change was a decline in statehouse reporters who play an important role in gathering information about local governments and reporting it to their readers. Related academic studies in the political economy space show that geographic areas with reduced local media coverage have less informed voters and lower voter turnouts, removing the incentives of local politicians to work hard on behalf of their constituencies. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 40 pages].

Flood Resilience and Risk Reduction: Federal Assistance and Programs

Flood Resilience and Risk Reduction: Federal Assistance and Programs.  Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Nicole T. Carter et al. July 25, 2018

 Recent flood disasters have raised congressional and public interest in not only reducing flood risks, but also improving flood resilience, which is the ability to adapt to, withstand, and rapidly recover from floods. In the United States, flood-related responsibilities are shared. States and local governments have significant discretion in land use and development decisions, which can be major factors in determining the vulnerability to and consequence of hurricanes, storms, extreme rainfall, and other flood events. Congress has established various federal programs that may be available to assist U.S. state, local, and territorial entities and tribes in reducing flood risks. Among the most significant federal activities to reduce communities’ flood risks and improve flood resilience are assistance with infrastructure projects (e.g., levees, shore protection) and other flood mitigation activities that save lives and reduce property damage; and mitigation incentives for communities that participate in the National Flood Insurance Program.

 [PDF format, 49 pages].