As I mentioned a few months ago, Governor Patrick and I are particularly interested in job creation strategies that have the best chance to create better economic opportunities for all Massachusetts residents, especially for the lower income and middle income people whom this Great Recession has been so very hard on.
We have been working in several areas that seem to us to be most likely to create such opportunities., One is improving our delivery of education and workforce development programs for what we refer to as “middle skill” jobs (jobs whose skill set require more than a basic high school education, but not a four-year college degree). Another is supporting and promoting advanced manufacturing in Massachusetts, which continues to provide a lot of good middle skill jobs for Massachusetts residents. A third approach is targeting public investments towards our “Gateway Cities”, 24 mid-size Massachusetts cities that have incomes and educational attainment rates below the state average. A list of those cities is here. A little history on the idea of focusing on these cities is here, including deserved credit to MassInc for starting the conversation in 2007.
In particular, we have been interested in supporting Gateway Cities that have made really aspirational, but practical, plans for their communities that create job and housing opportunities. A couple of good examples are City Square in Worcester and Hamilton Canal in Lowell. We have played a big role in helping each of these cities implement their great visions for where they would like to go.
What are you seeing and hearing out there? Are there urban communities (whether or not one of the 24) that you think have done a good job in moving ahead, even during these difficult past five years? Are there urban communities that are developing or implementing local visions that excite or inspire you? What does the state need to do to help?