As you may be aware, the work of the Economic Development Planning Council is underway. Created by the Economic Development Reorganization Act of 2010, the council is responsible for developing an economic development plan for the Commonwealth as well as an implementation strategy within the first year of each gubernatorial term. The goal is an important one - establish a cohesive, forward-looking plan that current and future leaders can use to keep Massachusetts on a path toward long-term economic growth and job creation. We have convened an impressive council from the worlds of business (large and small), academia, health care, labor and government. To learn more about the members and the work they are doing in their respective fields, click here .
In our first meeting last month, we identified the Commonwealth's existing strengths and agreed that our strategy's success depends in large part on the extent to which we focus on the following key elements:
· Innovation: Massachusetts leads the nation and the world in innovation industries such as health care, technology, life sciences and clean energy;
· Education: Our K-12 schools and higher education institutions produce the best educated workforce in the country;
· Job Creation: In dramatic contrast to the state's performance during the last two major recessions, Massachusetts has recovered from the current downturn stronger than the rest of the country, leading to the 11th highest job growth rate in the nation since December 2006.
We also discussed areas for improvement, including the fact that wages and economic opportunities for workers without four-year college degrees remain stagnant and income and economic opportunity disparities exist in different regions of the Commonwealth.
To tackle these challenges and bolster our economic competitiveness, the council has developed an economic development framework and identified the following five categories for action:
· Advancing Education & Workforce Development for Middle-Skill Jobs
· Supporting Innovation & Entrepreneurship
· Capitalizing on the Competitive Advantages of Every Region of the State
· Increasing the Ease of Doing Business
· Addressing Our Cost Competitiveness
In the coming weeks and months, council members will be identifying priorities within each category and developing short and long-term goals for each action item consistent with the guidelines established by the Economic Development Reorganization Act of 2010 (read the statute here). I will be discussing our work as I travel across the Commonwealth speaking to local Chambers of Commerce and meeting with employers and workers alike. Please check back here for the council's meeting schedule and updates on how you can participate as our work continues.