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Welcome - Issue 31

Welcome to the EconomicDevelopment.org newsletter! It's almost the new year, and to celebrate we are counting down the top five Higher ED blogs posts of 2016. 

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Happy reading!

 - The EconomicDevelopment.org Team

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5) Higher ED Blog: Economic development professionals are overworked and undercompensated

Woman holding phone in hands

By Jennifer Schnier

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities has stated that the work of local economic development is “worldwide” and has proven to be effective in fostering broad-scale development. Economic development professionals (EDPs) are nimble, creative, social, and engaging. They are multi-tasking individuals with exceptional communication and presentation skills. They’re also passionate about community development. Economic developers are professionals (some accredited) who have contributed to the revitalization of communities in Ontario.

They are expected to plan and deliver projects and programs, contribute to core municipal service delivery such as infrastructure and community planning, and find funding for their activities, all while accommodating the schedules of clients, site selectors, federal agencies, Community Futures boards, as well as internal stakeholders within their organizations such as fellow department heads, board members, councillors, and staff. Plus, as time goes on, more is added to their plates. Since the 1930s, there have been five “waves” of economic development, each adding to rather than replacing the activities of the last. One of the major changes has been for practitioners to work much closer with smaller enterprises. The growth of self employment does not appear to be slowing down, and the importance of supporting small business and entrepreneurs is not declining.


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4) Higher ED Blog: What's new in economic development research (winter 2016)

Ballet dancer

By  Michelle Madden

The Higher ED Blog publishes a quarterly economic development research roundup that shares new research practitioners might find useful. The series usually draws from Economic Development Quarterly, Regional Studies, and the Journal of Rural Studies, all reputable peer-reviewed academic journals.

Arts and culture really do attract knowledge workers

By now, most of us will be aware of the creative class and its love of the arts. Economic developers looking to attract this group are told to increase local arts and culture offerings in order to compete with large, metropolitan cities. While it is true that cities with lots of culture typically have many creative workers, it is less clear if cultural offerings actually impact their migration decisions.


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3) The Higher ED Blog: 5 game changers to help economic developers better promote their community


By Alysha Dominico

Whether you’re attracting investors or keeping existing industry engaged, communicating your assets and success is pivotal to economic development.

But marketing is getting more challenging. Consumers of all kinds (including site selectors) expect to find information through online searches; and they’re disdainful of ads which do not contain information immediately relevant to their immediate interests.

“Content Marketing” arose as a tool in the communications toolbox to help people with a message to overcome their audience’s apathy by providing immediate useful content, found by online search or given to the targeted person at the right time (i.e. in their purchase cycle).


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2) The Higher ED Blog: A tale of two local economic development delivery models

Tree Signposts

By Michelle Madden

Economic development is a relatively new field compared to other municipal functions like planning and engineering. As a result, economic development is still evolving in certain ways. I’m sure many of you have dealt with changing governance structures, tweaked job descriptions, and explaining to outsiders what it is you do.  As the profession continues to grow, it becomes more and more important to establish what economic development is, and how it is delivered.

With this context in mind, Stephen Thompson decided to explore the organizational structure of economic development for his Year 3 paper, while holding a joint role as General Manager/CEO of Port Colborne Economic Development Corporation and Director of Economic Development, Tourism and Marketing for the City of Port Colborne.  Delivery models of local economic development is a comparative analysis of internal and external model types. He also surveyed economic developers, receiving 19 responses. His goal was to determine if one model was more effective than the other. This is an important question since the field is still organizing itself and determining the best way forward.


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1) The Higher ED Blog: How your local library can support economic development


By Michelle Madden

At last month’s Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO) Conference, I had the pleasure of arranging and attending a field trip to the Toronto Public Library (TPL). You might be wondering why a group of economic developers would go to a place full of dusty books and oppressive silence. The thing is, libraries are modernizing faster than you think, evolving from places where books are freely available to places where knowledge is freely available.

Richard Florida has declared that “Capitalism is in the midst of an epochal transformation from its previous industrial model to a new one based on creativity and knowledge”, a stance that is shared by the OECD and accepted by the Government of Canada. While Canadians are remarkably well-educated, many groups (including recent immigrants, Aboriginals, and older Canadians) are being left behind. For these groups, traditional education institutions may not be accessible for many reasons. There is a huge opportunity for public libraries to fill the gap.


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