The economy is humming. You may have heard recently in the news, the U.S. Department of Labor announced the addition of 250,000 new jobs in October, topping the 118,000 jobs created in September. More likely, you have seen the “help wanted” and “now hiring” signs posted in your community and throughout your travels.
Even better, the Labor Department reported that average hourly earnings increased again in October, from 2.8 percent in September and to 3.1 percent on the year. This is the largest quarterly wage gain in ten years.
Serving as a model for the world, the U.S. economic system was the subject of study during a recent three-week, multi-state visit coordinated by the U.S. Department of Commerce International Trade Administration’s Special American Business Internship Training (SABIT) program. The SABIT program builds partnerships and provides technical assistance through training Eurasian business leaders in U.S. business practices.
The SABIT visit involved a 19-member delegation from many of the former Soviet bloc countries such as: Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Russia. The individuals represented academic institutions, regional/state/local governments, and national business associations (e.g. ‘chambers of commerce’).
As part of the SABIT program, Ohio State University Extension CD professionals were invited to share more about the ways Extension partners with communities, agencies, and organizations in pursuit of local and regional strategies for economic development. The delegates were particularly interested in learning more about our role in:
- Cultivating and facilitating regional collaboration and partnership frameworks (e.g. advisory/planning committee approach)
- Identifying and supporting industry clusters
- Community and organizational strategic planning
- Workforce development
- Business incubators, and
- Building capacity of elected officials
Working through interpreters, we discussed the land-grant system, Extension, and shared recent examples of how we engage others through the application of a wide variety of community economics programs and tools. After spending a couple of hours together, they were particularly interested in learning more about how they could strengthen their partnerships with academic institutions to inform research, teaching, and engagement efforts.
Despite the language barrier, there were many questions and the discussion was lively. Some of the delegates even inquired about returning to the U.S. to study and learn more. Others were eager to extend invitations to visit them in their home countries. Collaboration truly knows no boundaries!
In short, no matter where you are, we serve to partner with you and your community to share, learn, and identify ways to strengthen the local and regional economy.
You can learn the numerous ways we might work with you throughout these blog pages. To better understand the range of what is possible, take a look at the ‘Tags’ which highlight the content found here and feel free to contact the post’s author for more info. Or contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 614-292-5942.
Greg Davis is a Professor and Assistant Director, OSU Extension – Community Development.