Mapping Federal Programs for Local Economic Developers

Oct 13, 2016


The Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University will lead consortium of experts in developing recommended improvements to how the federal government develops and disseminates information about the various program resources it provides for economic development. Among other things the project will result in program information that is accessible and actionable on the part of state, regional and local applicants seeking to advance their own economic-development goals through access to relevant federal programs. The work will be conducted under a $400,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration (EDA), in support of its newly-established Office of Economic Development Integration whose mission is to lead the federal government’s work in establishing methodologies supporting the integration of economic development resources across federal agencies.


Among the outcomes of this project will be a publicly available resource allowing communities to choose more easily which federal programs are best matched to their needs. This resource will help communities make more effective cases for integrated federal support of complex regional partnerships for economic development.


The winning consortium consists of senior researchers and program administrators from NYU Wagner, the International City/County Management Association, and Jobs for the Future. The team are all active members of the federally funded National Resource Network, a $10 million funded program aimed at assisting 300 of the most economically challenged cities across the United States. This new initiative is based on National Resource Network’s comprehensive Technical Assistance clearinghouse of federally funded community development grant programs.


This project is led by Dr. Neil Kleiman, assistant clinical professor of public service at NYU Wagner and director of the school’s Innovation Labs. “There are at least 90 federal programs relevant to economic development, and few are aligned with one another or with state and local government activity,” said Dr. Kleiman. “This effort will address the diffuse nature of federal support by creating an easy-to-use inventory of all existing federal programs relevant to economic development.”


Tad McGalliard, director of research and technical assistance at ICMA, added: “There is a great hunger among state and local governments for better guidance on how to navigate the world of federal programming, and we will be thrilled to make the results of this project available as widely as possible through our membership and our partner organizations.”


“Workforce development is integral to many successful economic development efforts,” noted Thomas Hooper, senior director of regional and sector strategies at JFF. “Thanks to EDA’s support we’ll be documenting regional partnerships where there has been strong integration of these activities and identifying how federal programs in these two domains can be leveraged to work well together.”

Specific goals of the project include:

  • Building an open-source platform of all federal economic development programs.
  • Documentation, through detailed case studies, of successful initiatives that resulted from collaborations that were supported by multiple federal programs.
  • Recommendations on harmonizing program requirements, to be presented back to federal agencies. 
  • Aggressive outreach with findings.

The entire effort will be supported by a project advisory committee consisting of key principals from the National Resource Network (NRN); the connection to the network partners brings in advisory support from senior executives at Enterprise Community Partners and HR&A Advisors.


About the International City/County Management Association

ICMA, the International City/County Management Association, advances professional local government worldwide. Our mission is to create excellence in local governance by developing and fostering professional management to build livable communities that improve people’s lives. ICMA provides member support; publications; data and information; peer and results-oriented assistance; and training and professional development to more than 11,000 city, town, and county experts and other individuals and organizations throughout the world. The management decisions made by ICMA's members affect millions of individuals living in thousands of communities, from small villages and towns to large metropolitan areas.

About Jobs for the Future

Jobs for the Future (JFF) is a national nonprofit that builds educational and economic opportunity for underserved populations in the United States. We develop innovative career and educational programs and public policies that increase college readiness and career success, and build a more highly skilled workforce. With over 30 years of experience, JFF is the national leader in bridging education and work to increase economic mobility and strengthen our economy.

About NYU Wagner

Established in 1938, NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service educates and prepares future public service leaders to have an effective and lasting impact on the public good. NYU Wagner offers Master of Public Administration, Master of Urban Planning, Master of Science in Public Policy, Executive Master of Public Administration, and Doctor of Philosophy degree programs. These rigorous programs are directed by premier scholars in a variety of disciplines and fields, including economics, finance, sociology, political science, law, planning, healthcare, and more.
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