Featured Resources

CREC produces reports, webtools, and other products that we make available to our network. These products and services reflect the diversity of CREC's capabilities and our commitment to advancing the state of the economic and workforce development practice.

Strategic Positioning of MEP Centers in Providing Workforce Services

Small Manufacturing Enterprises (SMEs) fuel the U.S. economy. They compete through innovation, energy, and agility in response to rapidly changing global supply chain requirements and they take risks by introducing new processes and products. The vital role of SMEs, however, depends on a strong manufacturing workforce, and the challenges that SMEs face are particularly acute in finding, retaining, and skilling up workers. This working paper and accompanying presentation document how MEP Centers are well positioned to address a range of workforce challenges faced by SMEs and facilitate effective talent development. Produced by CREC for NIST MEP. Read the executive summary here.

Data for Building Equitable Pathways – First Technical Assistance

For the past 20 years, the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness (CREC) has promoted data-related innovations that guide economic and workforce development and has informed evidence-based decision-making by connecting, training, and supporting thousands of professionals. This year and next, CREC aims to expand access to labor market information for data-driven decision making in collaboration with organizations guiding students through high school, college, and career. Read the full report here.

Addressing Appalachia’s Substance Use Disorder Crisis Through Recovery-to-Work

The United States has seen a dramatic increase in substance use disorder (SUD) during the 21st century, and especially in Appalachia. The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) increasingly recognized the importance of developing a regional response to the SUD crisis that fits their mission of furthering economic and workforce development in Appalachia. As a result, ARC unveiled the Recovery Ecosystem Model, which reflects the need for the regional coordination of recovery services, workforce training, and employment to help those in recovery from SUD achieve lasting employment. To develop that model further, ARC provided funding to the Development District Association of Appalachia (DDAA) to facilitate four regions as they developed their own “recovery-to-work ecosystems.”

Best practices in designing a recovery-to-work ecosystem model are still in development as regions translate theory into practice. DDAA views the role of a recovery-to-work ecosystem as supporting the employment of people in recovery by coordinating regional stakeholders to encourage on-going treatment while also hiring and retaining workers that have a history of SUD. Local leaders must consider a broad collection of regional stakeholders and activities to fulfill the needs of the community, workers, and employers.

Over the course of a year-long peer exchange, or “Cohort Learning Academy,” DDAA sought to define the recovery-to-work ecosystem model and identify its key components. The result is the “Recovery-to-Work Ecosystem Framework,” an evaluation of the goals an ecosystem effort seeks to accomplish, a summary of the challenges in achieving those goals, and suggestions for potential strategic solutions with specific actionable activities. These goals and activities rely on success in building regional collaboration, engaging and supporting employers, and providing wrap-around services to workers in recovery. Read the full report here.

Tracking Innovation in Credentialing Systems

An April 2021 report features a new earn-and-learn bridge program, launched in Philadelphia. The program addresses an urgent need for higher quality pre-K programming by helping high school students launch careers in education. Through pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship, students earn a professional credential, Associate’s degree, and teacher certification while working. CREC produced the report for District 1199c Training and Upgrading Fund with support from the Pennsylvania Key and the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development & Early Learning. Find the report here: Early Childhood Education Pre-Apprenticeship Model Project.

CREC contributed to the most recent Counting Credentials report from Credential Engine, the third annual effort to count all secondary and post-secondary credentials, released February 2021. The report identifies 967,734 unique credentials in the U.S. and demonstrates the need for transparency in the credentialing landscape. The report includes state-by-state counts of diplomas, certificates, degrees, apprenticeships, licenses. Find the report here: Counting Credentials 2021 – Credential Engine or here Counting U.S. Secondary and Postsecondary Credentials, Phase III.

Measuring Economic Development Performance

In helping regions compete, CREC is dedicated to helping policymakers better measure their economic performance.

CREC is collaborating with partners to sponsor research on how states are measuring the performance of the portfolio of economic development programs.

In 2016, we published the first of an occasional series.  We welcome others to contribute and to help us in moving this effort forward on behalf of the economic development practice.

2016 State Economic Development Performance Indicators White Paper (PDF)
2017 Redefining Economic Development Performance Indicators for a Field in Transition (PDF)

State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI)

The State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) was created through the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 (the “Act”). SSBCI was funded with $1.5 billion to strengthen state programs that support financing of small businesses.  Treasury awarded funding to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and all U.S. Territories, based on their proportion of unemployed persons as a percentage of the national total.

Participating States funded new or existing state programs that fell into one of the following types: Capital Access Program (CAP)Collateral Support ProgramLoan Guarantee ProgramLoan Participation Program, or Venture Capital Program. General program parameters required Participating States to demonstrate a reasonable expectation of leveraging $10 of private dollars for every $1 of SSBCI funding expended.

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