The National League of Cities (NLC) has chosen six cities for its Economic Development Fellowship program. The cities are Austin, Baltimore, Louisville, Nashville, Phoenix and Sacramento.
The Economic Development Program is an initiative backed by NLC, PolicyLink and the Urban Land Institute (ULI). The fellowship begins today in Washington, D.C. During the year-long fellowship, each city will select an issue or project aimed at spurring inclusive economic growth. Economic development experts from across the country will then provide technical assistance, leadership training and make recommendations to help the cities reach their goals. The cities will also designate fellows within their communities to travel to the other participating cities for peer learning and the sharing of best practices.
The Equitable Economic Development Fellowship started in 2016 as a two-year, $1 million effort to help equity, transparency, sustainability and community engagement become driving forces in local economic development efforts. The fellowship is supported by the Surdna Foundation and the Open Society Foundation.
Past projects by fellowship cities have done work on reaching underserved communities with new economic development initiatives and working on analyses of local economic markets. The new group of six will work on similar projects aimed at expanding economic opportunity throughout their cities.
“Making real progress in promoting equitable economic development at the local level requires strong community voices, champions in city government and staff empowered with the knowledge and tools to create change,” said Ken Zimmerman, director of US Programs at the Open Society Foundations. “We believe this fellowship program is a great way to increase government’s ability to extend the benefits of growth to all communities. We are proud to support the program, eager to learn from the inaugural class of fellows and excited by the promise that a new crop brings.”