GMF Hosts Strong Cities, Strong Communities Bootcamp in New Orleans, LA
On January 13-14, 2014, the Urban and Regional Policy Program of the German Marshall Fund of the United States hosted the fourth Strong Cities, Strong Communities Bootcamp in New Orleans, Louisiana. GMF hosted the two-day workshop in partnership with the New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA) and the City of New Orleans with support from the Surdna Foundation.
The bootcamp’s four sessions focused on New Orleans’ anchor institutions and discussed strategies for leveraging their collective economic presence and improving coordination amongst one another as they do so. As a testimony to the importance of this issue to the social and economic future of the city, Mayor Mitch Landrieu participated in the bootcamp, as did executives from five of the city’s major anchor institutions.
The bootcamp as a whole was designed to help advance key objectives that support both the Prosperity NOLA plan and Mayor Landrieu’s economic development agenda through the sharing of best practices, engagement with a broader network of practitioners, and facilitated dialogue focused on key components of the plan. Prosperity NOLA, launched jointly in 2012 by the City of New Orleans and NOLABA, is a comprehensive economic development roadmap for New Orleans through 2018 with an agenda focused on issues such as workforce development, small business development, equity, and coordination and collaboration on key industry clusters.
Sessions focused on how anchor institutions can promote small business and economic development, what role they can play in local workforce development, and how they can increase local procurement. Discussions touched on both sides of the anchor institution engagement coin; how anchor institutions can best engage their surrounding communities, as well as how small businesses can prepare themselves for local procurement efforts, create a workforce pipeline, and build long term relationships with nearby anchor institutions.
Some of the opportunities identified include:
- The strong role of pilot projects in spurring anchor institutions to engage with local workforce development or procurement and build trust between the anchors and the community
- The need for a neutral convener in New Orleans that will bring partners to the table, coordinate amongst the anchor institutions and move an action-oriented agenda forward on behalf of all anchor institutions
- The opportunity for local community procurement and hiring strategies to boost the bottom line of anchors, and how this “business case” can motivate anchor institutions to increase their local engagement
Participating experts in the first session moderated by Rod Miller, President & CEO of the New Orleans Business Alliance, included Heidi Gartland, Vice President of Government Relations for University Hospitals (Cleveland); Marie Witt, Vice President for Business Services for the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia); Chris Ronayne, President of University Circle Inc. (Cleveland); and Ted Howard, Executive Director of the Democracy Collaborative (Cleveland). The second session of building local workforce capacity was moderated by Robert Spencer, Chair of the New Orleans Workforce Investment Board, and included Matt Bergheiser, Executive Director of the University City District in Philadelphia; India Pierce, Program Director for Neighborhoods for the Cleveland Foundation; and Melissa Sparks, Director for Learning & Development at Ochsner Health Systems (New Orleans). The final session, which focused on local procurement opportunities, was moderated by Flozell Daniels, President & CEO of the Foundation for Louisiana, again included Heidi Gartland and Matt Bergheiser, in addition to Craig Taylor, Executive Director in the Office of Business and Community Development at the University of Minnesota(Minneapolis).
The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF), in collaboration with the White House Strong Cities Strong Communities (SC2) Initiative, is responsible for implementing the SC2 Fellowship program. This program placed 17 professionals in two year positions in seven pilot cities (Chester, Cleveland, Detroit, Fresno, Memphis, Youngstown, and New Orleans). The “Bootcamp” policy sessions further the impact of the SC2 Fellowship Program in each pilot city by providing additional training and mentoring opportunities for a broad range of city and civic leaders that work alongside the SC2 fellows.
GMF would like to thank the Surdna Foundation for their generous support of the SC2 Bootcamps.
Image courtesy of the New Orleans Business Alliance.