The methods for economic development that Cuyahoga County has used for the last half-century must be reassessed. The best way to generate revenue is a strong economy. The best way to have a strong economy? JOBS. JOBS. JOBS. To do this you need innovation and workers. How do we get workers? We grow them here with a continued emphasis on strong schools (from pre-school to post-secondary) and we bring workers here. Here is my plan for growing our county’s economy in a way that puts residents first:

  • Invest in workers and students
    • STEM training and education must be available to all students in our county
    • Job training including certification programs and other post-secondary programs like internships and apprenticeships
      • Goal: all public high schools in the county will have computer science programs
      • Apprenticeships
        • Debt-free education
        • workers who complete an apprenticeship earn an average starting salary of $50,000 and earn about $300K more than comparable workers over their lifetimes
        • Employers also benefit from having a pipeline of skilled workers
        • The Center for American Progress believes apprenticeships should be expanded in the U.S., especially in high-growth occupations such as information technology, health care, and advanced manufacturing
  • Securing family wage jobs and linking county residents to them must be goal #1; not just building up the tax base
  • No more smokestack chasing
  • We must grow businesses already here in our county
    • Help businesses and industries already here invest more on R & D and technology
    • Help GROW small businesses
      • Organizations like JumpStart, HFLA have already started the work of identifying and supporting local entrepreneuers and the county should assist them if the
      • Ensure a color-blind policy so that minority groups and people of color, and especially female-led businesses are not ignored in the process
  • Maintain and attract middle & upper income households by creating greater amenities, reducing crime, increasing household values, promoting so-called neighborhoods of choice and marketing our progress throughout the region and country
  • Grow the Middle Class
    • Improve our educational outcomes
    • Focus job training/retraining programs around regional employment trends like health care & informatics, chemicals, manufacturing & advanced manufacturing
    • Work with major local employers, particularly our anchor institutions like colleges & hospitals, to increase employment opportunities for county residents
    • Increase home-ownership education & counseling for new home buyers and home repair programs for all homeowners  
    • Expanded Individual Development Accounts     
      • For home-ownership, job retraining, small business ownership, and post-secondary education
  • Make it easier for ex-convicts to find gainful training and employment
    • Overwhelming evidence that if former criminals could find higher paying jobs, poverty rate would decrease
  • Analytics
    • How do we measure success? Not by the number of jobs created. Not by the number of companies that move here. But, by measuring the per capita income of our region’s residents. Today our county’s per capita income is below the national average and the median household income is considerably less than the national average.