Strengthening Rural Economics: Programs that Target Promising Sectors of a Local Economy (December 1998, 85 p.)
Economic success poses its own dilemmas. For example, while the U.S. economy is creat-ing
new skilled and semi-skilled jobs at an unprecedented rate, those new jobs are not
equally accessible to all Americans, both in terms of where one lives and of the skills and
income one needs to claim those jobs. In short, people in rural areas and areas in which
manufacturing firms (and jobs) have fled do not have equal access to the new employment;
neither do those persons with less skills, less education, lower income. A related dilemma is
that, although some comminutes have arrived at remarkably innovative and successful means,
frequently with support from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, to
address the first dilemma, those initiatives have not been systematically described and widely
disseminated. As the result, even highly successful initiatives have not claimed wide currency.
The four studies that comprise this effort go some way to addressing the second dilemma.
They explore in detail four strategies that have shown marked success in producing and
maintaining economic opportunities and jobs and also in making them available to people
with low incomes. The four studies were conducted by the Center for Community Change
with support by the Office of Policy Development and Research of the U.S. Department of
Housing and Urban Development, the Pew Charitable Trusts and its Fund for Urban Neigh-borhood
Development and by the Center for Community Change itself.
One of the reports Strengthening Rural Economics: Programs that Target Promising Sectors of a Local Economy examines how a strategy of concentrating economic developing effort on a sector of businesses that are located near each other and share other common features can expand eco-nomic
opportunities and produce jobs in rural areas. The report describes four diverse cases in
which such a strategy has been used at least in part with the intention of increasing employment
among low income people – and with some success.
Other reports include: