Recent years have seen a rapid escalation in state economic development spending: spending that in 2008 totaled at least $10 billion. Given the scale of public spending, some state leaders have begun to inquire about the effectiveness of economic development activities and just who receives the benefits. Instead of relying upon old assumptions, some leaders are urging their states to think more carefully about the public benefit and the fundamental link between skill formation and job creation.
To encourage this transition, The Working Poor Families Project, a national initiative to strengthen state policies and programs, asked South by North Strategies, Ltd to identify promising ways of better orienting state economic development systems around an education and skills agenda that reflects the economic needs of low income families. The report, entitled Strengthening State Economic Development Systems: A Framework for Change is available through the project’s web site.