June 29, 2016 — A friend of mine who made her career in the human services sector once said “the best social service we can deliver is a job.” In that spirit, Berks County Community Foundation has supported efforts to grow employment opportunities at all levels in the community.
Much of that work falls to a handful of local agencies, some public and some private, who work to grow, attract and retain jobs in our region. The chief executives of two of those agencies (Greater Reading Economic Partnership and the Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce & Industry) have recently left. Those two organizations, along with the Greater Berks Development Fund, have announced their intention to merge by the end of the year.
With all of that change in mind, the Community Foundation brought together representatives of these and other economic development agencies as well as funders and government leaders to discuss a common economic development vision. Amy Liu, vice president of The Brookings Institution and the director of its Metropolitan Policy Program, kicked the day off with a presentation on “Remaking Economic Development.” In addition that video, you can see her PowerPoint here.
The group worked throughout the day and crafted the statement below.We’d love to hear your thoughts. We’re encouraging all comments to be made in one central area on this Facebook post.
The Berks County Community Economic Development Vision
The Berks County community supports a united economic development vision for our future. The success of our vision is dependent upon ongoing leadership, support and open communication among all constituents in both the public and private sectors. We support inclusion and participation from all segments of the community to realize our vision.
Our 5 – 7 Year Vision
• We have a process for coordinated partnerships with a shared, positive message – both internally and externally.
• We have a system of collaboration between education, business, workforce development and families to meet business workforce needs.
• We have ready-to-go sites supporting business growth.
• We have a defined Reading-Metro transportation plan connecting our workforce shed.
• We have a detailed plan for a vibrant city/urban core and are actively building it.
Our 20-Year Vision
• The Reading Metro area is a cultural and economic mecca.
• Our school district and local government are both unified at the county level.
• We have accessible high-speed connectivity to transportation and technology.
• We have thriving incubator/research centers linked to higher education.
Kevin K. Murphy, President
Berks County Community Foundation