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YEO Economic Development Policy Academy
December 7-9, 2007
More than 30 progressive young elected officials from across the country gathered in Florham Park, N.J. December 7-9 to participate in a policy academy on how to develop community based economic development strategies. The weekend’s retreat included sessions led by policy experts on workforce development, progressive tax incentive strategies, and sessions on how to promote economic growth through arts and culture.
The YEO Network Policy Academy on Economic Development is the first in a series of policy academies designed to assist YEOs in developing progressive and innovative policy initiatives that can implement in their communities. Elected officials from 15 states came together for an intense weekend of policy idea sharing and networking with other YEOs. Elected officials were encouraged to inventory their local and regional assets to promote job creation and industry development.
The three-day academy was designed in a retreat style setting to maximize the time YEOs spent together – creating an atmosphere of sharing and networking. The first day of the conference included an orientation and a featured speaker on economic development. The environment promoted opportunities for serious policy analysis and learning – while maintaining a safe environment for YEOs to speak and share honestly. Day two was the heaviest day of the conference –filled with sessions involving innovative job creation and sector planning concepts. Experts in the field led each session and encouraged YEOs to look creatively at how such concepts could be implemented in their communities. Workshop sessions included a range of topics, including; “Kids Out of School and Out of Work. Disconnected Youth: Problem and Opportunity, Transforming Economies through Arts, Culture and Creative Enterprises, Public Universities' Role In Workforce Development,” and much more. The final day included a panel discussion with political consultants on how YEOs could promote a strong agenda of good paying, progressive job creation, without alienating the electorate.
YEOs left the convening inspired to go back to their communities and assess what impact they could have on creating a progressive economic agenda to improve the welfare of their communities. YEO Network and City Futures staff will work with YEOs over the next twelve months to assist YEOs in creating and executing their policy plans.