Chester County To Chart Its Economic Future

February 18, 2014

By: Bob Carville
Via: Daily Local News

Visionary Partners who are funding VISTA 2025 include the Chester County Board of Commissioners, The Vanguard Group, The Hankin Group, DNB First, West Chester University, Chester County Intermediate Unit, Chester County Industrial Development Authority, Delaware County Community College, and the Chester County Economic Development Council. In addition, an Executive Alliance made up of key stakeholders from the public and private sectors will serve as a steering committee and provide guidance as the process moves forward.

UWCHLAN, PENNSYLVANIA — More than 40 Chester County businesses, health care and educational institutions and non-profit organizations Thursday joined Chester County Commissioners to launch what organizers say is a unique public-private partnership.
The goal is to help guide economic development efforts in Chester County for the next 10 years.
The guiding philosophy of initiative, VISTA 2025, will be “to maintain a balance between progress and preservation that ensures continued economic prosperity while protecting the valuable natural resources that define Chester County,” a news release from the Chester County Economic Development Council says.
Officials said the effort dovetails with the county’s comprehensive land-use plan, Landscapes II, which calls on civic leaders to develop an over-arching economic vision for the county to prosper while preserving its endearing characteristics. It addresses growth management and preservation strategies in collaboration with public, private and corporate citizens.
“VISTA 2025 seeks to maintain and build upon Chester County’s position as one of the leading counties in the country in areas such as best place to raise a family, health of its citizens, household income, low unemployment, and a range of other demographic and economic data,” the news release explains. “The last few decades have seen the emergence of a strong, vibrant and diversified Chester County economy, an economy that VISTA 2025 seeks to maintain in the future. That economy has brought family sustaining jobs to the County and provided the resources needed to support a high quality of life in terms of open space preservation and other amenities.”
Commissioners’ Chairman Ryan Costello attended Thursday’s news briefing for the partnership he will co-chair. The name VISTA 2025 was selected because it serves as an acronym for the elements of the strategy process: Vision, Ideas, Strategy, Teams, Actions. The word vista also describes a view of the distance, in this case looking and planning for the future of Chester County’s economy, organizers say.
“VISTA 2025 will enable us to put in place a coordinated strategy to maintain a strong county economy now and in the future, while ensuring we preserve the natural resources that make Chester County such an attractive location to live, work, and operate a business,” Costello wrote in a news release.
“Chester County is ranked as the No. 1 county in Pennsylvania in a number of areas, including the health of our residents, percentage of residents with bachelor’s and graduate degrees, median household income, and wages. Our goal is to take advantage of the opportunity to build on our competitive strengths, identify emerging economic trends, and renew our focus on work force development efforts in key sectors to enhance continued economic growth in Chester County.”
The VISTA 2025 initiative is being coordinated by the Chester County Economic Development Council, a private, nonprofit, economic development organization promoting smart growth in Chester County and the surrounding region. To help guide the process the council has hired TIP Strategies, a nationally recognized consulting firm that focuses on strategic economic development planning. The project is being funded through a combination of public and private contributions.
Tom Fillippo, president of Devault Foods, is also a VISTA 2025 co-chair.
“This is an exciting opportunity where the private and public sector are working together toward a common goal of ensuring Chester County has a strong economy represented by diverse sectors that will enable the region to withstand economic downturns and events that may impact specific sectors,” Fillippo wrote. “This is not just about maintaining Chester County’s high rankings in various economic areas, it is also about positioning the county for the future.”
Organizers say VISTA 2025 will:

  • examine trends that are likely to impact Chester County’s economy in the next decade;
  • identify opportunities and strategies to leverage the county’s many significant assets;
  • identify locations for future economic development;
  • determine incentives and tools that would assist with attracting investment;
  • examine existing policies or regulations that may create barriers to desired growth; and
  • look at how Chester County can best manage its existing talent and work force skills.

Community input is an integral part of the process and will be generated through out the preparation of the economic development strategy, organizers said. Key business, agricultural and nonprofit sectors will be solicited for input and views through a series of targeted focus groups.
As information, opinions, and data are collected and analyzed, the public will have opportunities to comment on draft recommendations on the VISTA 2025 economic development strategy.
In addition, a VISTA 2025 Website will be established to share updates with and solicit input from the public and stakeholders. Primary work on the VISTA 2025 economic development strategy will take place over the spring and early summer 2014 with an anticipated completion in mid to late summer.

Interactive Map Detailing Growth Of Top Industries In 100 Most Populous U.S. Metros

February 13, 2014

By: Rob Sentz

Click here to see the interactive map
Which industries are the top drivers of job growth for each of the 100 largest U.S. markets? Which metros have added the most jobs post-recession? Which metros have the biggest concentration of jobs in healthcare, technology, construction, manufacturing, energy and other top fields?
The U.S. economy is composed of hundreds of industries that are spread across thousands of counties, and the interactions of these industries are huge engines for job formation and economic prosperity.
CareerBuilder and EMSI have teamed up to create a powerful interactive map that applies big data to visualize the enormous size, scope and diversity of the U.S. economy. The map uses EMSI’s rich labor market database of over 90 national and state employment resources to identify key industries that are driving job growth for the 100 most populous U.S. metros. 1
Viewers can click on each metro and the map reveals 10 of the most important detailed industries for that location, based on number of 2013 jobs, job growth since 2010 and job concentration. From well-known economic forces (e.g., finance in New York City and aerospace products and parts manufacturing in Seattle) to emerging sectors (e.g., motor vehicle body and trailer manufacturing in Nashville and data processing and hosting in San Antonio), the map provides comprehensive – and often surprising – insights.
Viewers can also click on an industry menu to see a list of metros where a specific industry is a major economic driver.
“Since 2010, the national workforce has grown four percent, but more than 40 large metros have eclipsed the national growth rate,” said Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder. “These are metros with a strong concentration of computer systems design, software publishing and data processing and hosting firms. These are metros benefiting from the resurgence in U.S. manufacturing, and the nation’s need to find new energy sources and expand healthcare services.”
In a separate study of the same 100 metros, CareerBuilder and EMSI discovered which metros have added the most jobs per capita post-recession:


1. Salt Lake City, UT – added over 62,000 jobs since 2010, up 9% (534 new jobs per 10,000 people)
Originally a farming community, Salt Lake City has grown into an industrial center for the state. Industries that have experienced strong job growth in this metro include electronic shopping and mail order houses (up 43%), software publishing (up 28%), specialized freight trucking (up 23%) and credit intermediation (up 22%).
2. Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI – added over 39,000 jobs since 2010, up 10% (513 new jobs per 10,000 people)

This manufacturing heavyweight has benefited from the rebound of production jobs after the recession. The metro saw job increases in various manufacturing segments such as plastics product (up 35%), motor vehicle parts (up 33%), metalworking machinery (up 30%) and office furniture (up 12%). Hospitals also accounted for an upswing in jobs (up 16%).
3. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA – added over 91,000 jobs since 2010, up 10% (498 new jobs per 10,000 people)
It’s no surprise that software publishing (up 30%), computer systems design (up 19%), data processing and hosting (up 16%), computer manufacturing (up 12%) and scientific research (up 9%) are big contributors to employment for this Silicon Valley metro.
4. Austin-Round Rock- San Marcos, TX – added over 90,000 jobs since 2010, up 11% (488 new jobs per 10,000 people)

Austin has made a name for itself as a technology and business hub, fueling job growth in management, scientific and consulting services (up 35%), computer systems design (up 35%), data processing and hosting (up 35%) and semiconductor manufacturing (up 17%).
5. Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX – added over 281,000 jobs since 2010, up 10% (451 new jobs per 10,000 people)
Energy-rich Houston continues to see job growth in utility system construction (specifically, oil and gas pipeline, up 45%), mining support (up 38%), metal and mineral (except petroleum) wholesalers (up 31%), oil and gas extraction (up 25%), and architectural and engineering services (21%).
6. Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN – added over 71,000 jobs since 2010, up 9% (432 new jobs per 10,000 people)
A popular music center, Nashville saw a 25% increase in jobs for independent artists, writers and performers. The metro also saw notable jumps in jobs for motor vehicle manufacturing (up 61%), accounting services (up 37%), general freight trucking (up 17%) and specialty hospitals (up 15%).
7. Provo-Orem, UT – added over 24,000 jobs since 2010, up 12% (427 new jobs per 10,000 people)
The mid-sized Utah metro is well concentrated in a number of fast-growing tech industries: software publishing (up 51%), computer systems design (up 30%) and semiconductor manufacturing (up 14%).
8. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX – added over 267,000 jobs since 2010, up 9% (400 new jobs per 10,000 people)
Part of the Silicon Prairie, Dallas saw a boost in jobs in computer systems design (up 32%) and communications equipment manufacturing (up 18%). Other key growth areas include oil and gas extraction (up 27%), office administration (up 22%) and credit intermediation (up 13%).
9. Bakersfield-Delano, CA – added 33,000 jobs since 2010, up 11% (394 new jobs per 10,000 people)

Growth in this metro has been fueled by agriculture-related industries such as crop production (up 14%) and dairy product manufacturing (up 11%). Bakersfield has also benefited from an upswing in utility system construction (specifically, oil and gas pipeline), an industry that has more than doubled in employment since 2010 and is nearly seven times as concentrated in Bakersfield than the national average.
10. Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill, NC-SC – added over 70,000 jobs, up 8% (381 new jobs per 10,000 people)

In addition to spectator sports (up 37%), this metro also experienced growth in tech-related industries such as telecommunication carriers (up 31%), management, scientific and consulting services (up 22%), scheduled air transportation (up 17%) and data processing and hosting (up 14%).
Meanwhile, the poorest-performing labor markets are in Scranton–Wilkes-Barre and Albuquerque, both of which have roughly the same number of workers today as they did in 2010. Ten other metros, headlined by Providence, Dayton, and Syracuse, have only grown 1 percent.
The map also reveals pockets of the U.S. where key industries are clustered among the largest cities:

Motor vehicles parts manufacturing has traditionally been focused in Rust Belt cities, but Southern metros such as Birmingham, Louisville and Nashville are emerging in this sector.
Oil and gas extraction is a major driver of high-wage job growth in Texas, Oklahoma and the surrounding region. It’s also becoming a driver of job growth in Denver.
General freight trucking is concentrated in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast (Nashville, Memphis, Jacksonville, etc.), where transportation routes are plentiful and huge population centers are in close range.
Software publishing has a big presence in Silicon Valley, but is also growing in major markets such as Seattle, Boston, Atlanta and Denver.
General medical and surgical hospitals are driving jobs in Columbus, Chicago, Baltimore, Boston, Rochester and St. Louis, among others.
Highway, street and bridge construction has seen an uptick in jobs in Baton Rouge, Oklahoma City and San Antonio as cities rebuild after natural disasters and address other public concerns.

CareerBuilder and EMSI are national leaders in providing labor market data and tools to dig deeper and better understand national and local economies.
1 EMSI data is collected from more than 90 federal and state sources, such as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Census Bureau, and state labor departments. EMSI removes suppressions often found in publicly available data and includes proprietors, creating a complete picture of the workforce.
About EMSI
Economic Modeling Specialists Intl., a CareerBuilder company, turns labor market data into useful information that helps organizations understand the connection between economies, people, and work. Using sound economic principles and good data, we build user-friendly services that help educational institutions, workforce planners, and regional developers build a better workforce and improve the economic conditions in their regions. For more information, visit
About CareerBuilder®

CareerBuilder is the global leader in human capital solutions, helping companies target and attract great talent. Its online career site,®, is the largest in the United States with more than 24 million unique visitors, 1 million jobs and 50 million resumes. CareerBuilder works with the world’s top employers, providing resources for everything from employment branding and talent and compensation intelligence to recruitment solutions. More than 10,000 websites, including 140 newspapers and broadband portals such as MSN and AOL, feature CareerBuilder’s proprietary job search technology on their career sites. Owned by Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE:GCI), Tribune Company and The McClatchy Company (NYSE:MNI), CareerBuilder and its subsidiaries operate in the United States, Europe, South America, Canada and Asia. For more information, visit

Project Update: Greater Houston Partnership’s Regional Workforce Development Task Force

February 6, 2014

By: Caroline Alexander, Senior Consultant, TIP Strategies

Port of HoustonPhoto courtesy: Port of Houston Authority

Over the past 6 months, TIP Strategies has helped the Greater Houston Partnership (GHP) facilitate their Regional Workforce Development Task Force and develop a strategic action plan.
The Greater Houston region is on the brink of unprecedented growth. With almost $20 billion in investment in new plants and facilities announced, the next 5 years are slated for rapid expansion. Employers, however, are concerned that the region does not have the talent it needs to fuel this expansion. Further complicating the labor market is the aging of the workforce and the pending wave of retirements.
In response to these concerns, the Greater Houston Partnership convened the Regional Workforce Development Task Force (RWDTF). The task force is composed of 104 members representing 79 organizations, including large employers, workforce and economic development, education, and social services. The task force met six times over the course of last half of 2013 with the intention of formulating an action plan to address the challenges over the next five years. The initiative focused in on the middle skills segment of the job market.
The RWDTF identified 4 gaps in the workforce development system that must be addressed in order to create the pipeline of talent required to meet the needs of the region’s employers. The gaps are:

Potential workers are not aware of the opportunities in the middle skills segment or hold inaccurate perceptions of the jobs.
Many potential workers lack some of the most basic hard and soft skills needed for any middle skills job.
The landscape of programs and organizations with a focus on workforce is broad and varied, but also fragmented.
The lack of accurate, reliable data creates a disconnect between demand and supply.

The strategic action plan takes a sector-based approach to create a more demand-driven workforce system. The strategies are structured around addressing the identified gaps. The plan will be finalized at the end of February and GHP is already on the road to implementation. Stay tuned for more news as GHP hires a director of workforce development and launches its first sector council.

IEDC Ignite Presentation: Disruptive Technologies

February 5, 2014

By: TIP Strategies

For its recent Leadership Summit, IEDC organizers invited “thought leaders and practitioners at the cutting edge of the economic development profession” to share innovative ideas and case studies in five-minute “Ignite” presentations.
Under a title slide forewarning “DISRUPTION,” TIP Principal Jon Roberts took the stage and led audience members on a rapid-fire review of the disruptive forces altering economic development.
Citing disruptive technologies in the fields of consumer electronics, autonomous vehicles, 3D printing and device connectivity, Jon declared three disruptors changing the face of economic development: the future labor pool, evolving supply chains, and changing social norms.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, roughly a million people will enter the labor force annually for the next 10 years. Accustomed to digital music, driverless vehicles, and smart appliances, the next generation of American workers will bring to and require of the labor market a unique set of skills. Traditional expectations of this workforce will have to be set aside in favor of new models.
As disruptive technologies transform how we live and work, they also introduce massive shifts in the supply chain. The historical focus on manufacturing and assembly of durable goods will give way to software development and “intelligent systems,” while producer, broker, and distribution roles in creative fields are already being bypassed and may soon be obsolete.
The resulting shift in social norms, while a threat for those not prepared, creates a wealth of new product and value creation opportunities. In his closing, Jon asserts that we must redefine public-private partnerships to capitalize on the disruptive changes, and divorce ourselves of the notion that the next wave of economic development will be based solely on job creation.