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Blog: Cleveland


Connectivity: A New Place-Based Strategy for Distressed Communities

Howard Wial and Christiana McFarland

Regional economic connectivity is an economic, workforce, and community development strategy that focuses on industry clusters that are thriving in the broader region and establishing them within under-resourced communities (URCs). To better understand how well and under which circumstances distressed communities benefit from regional economic connectivity, ICIC and SRI examined geographic patterns of industry cluster employment in 181 metropolitan areas using a combination of data analysis and case study evidence. The result of this study is the new report Regional Economic Connectivity: A Strategy to Build Opportunity in Distressed Communities. Findings in the report indicate that URC economic connectivity is more prevalent in small and medium-sized metropolitan areas, suburban URCs, clusters that are highly specialized regionally, manufacturing-based clusters, clusters with low educational requirements for entry-level workers, and lower-wage clusters. The report also indicates a significant opportunity for economic developers and their partners to target asset development and other strategic investments to grow regionally strong clusters in URCs. Read More


What’s Chef Farrell’s Why? Creative Freedom: Finding Joy and Purpose in the Culinary Arts


Chef Saidah Farrell is the founder, CEO, and owner of Olivia Rose Confections, best known for their Marshmallow of the Month Club subscription box. The box is described as a s’more survival kit and includes chocolate bars, a house-made gourmet hot chocolate mix, freshly baked graham crackers, and the marshmallow of the month. Made from the freshest ingredients, Farrell has crafted 50 different flavors of these artisan marshmallows, spanning from traditional favorites like lemon, chocolate, and strawberry to decadent combinations like butter brandy, ginger cinnamon peach, and raspberry lime prosecco. Motivated by a desire to maintain creative freedom, the success that Chef Farrell has experienced over the last decade is the result of an unrelenting positive attitude and a willingness to learn, pivot, and adapt. A graduate of the Goldman Sachs One Million Black Women: Black in Business and the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses programs, Farrell’s journey is a testament to the power of resilience and a supportive community. Read More


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