Economic Development Recommendations

Connecting North Carolina: State Broadband Plan

 

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND BROADBAND

  • Economic development is the act, implementation or study of policies, strategies and techniques to improve the economy.
  • Broadband impacts the economy and economic development strategies, especially small business and workforce development.

RECOMMENDATION 1: Incorporate Broadband into “Certified Work Ready” Communities Initiative.

ED1.1 | Include broadband as an indicator in the “Certified Work Ready Community” initiative.

  • Partner with NC Chamber of Commerce and other workforce development partners to incorporate broadband into existing “Certified Work Ready Communities” program

ED1.2 | Advertise certified communities to providers as good areas for providers to invest and/or expand broadband infrastructure.

RECOMMENDATION 2: Launch a state-supported campaign to brand the state (internally and externally) as a national digital leader.

ED2.1 | BIO should collaborate with partners such as the North Carolina Department of Commerce, North Carolina Economic Development Partnership, the NC Chamber of Commerce, the North Carolina Technology Association (NCTA), and other stakeholders to develop a campaign to brand the state internally and externally as a leader in the creation and use of next-generation technologies.

RECOMMENDATION 3: Leverage existing state agency small business and workforce development tools.

ED3.1 | Catalogue, leverage, and build upon existing small business support organizations’ current efforts to improve small businesses’ broadband utilization.

  • BIO should partner with other state agencies, local governments, non-profits, and NC’s technology companies to create a database or portal of the existing efforts to improve broadband utilization and digital literacy among small businesses and individual citizens.

ED3.2 | Leverage and build upon existing workforce education and training.

  • In collaboration with the Community College System, BIO should leverage and build upon existing workforce development education and training for digital literacy, computer and technology skills, and various subjects via in-person and distance learning formats offered through the Community College System.
  • In collaboration with other workforce development agencies, BIO should work with the NC Community College System to ensure partnerships are established with NC companies to prepare potential employees and job applicants for tech-based jobs.

ED3.3 | Ensure the NC Works Career Centers’ employees have adequate tools and training to assist customers with digital literacy needs

  • BIO and other stakeholders should collaborate with the NC Division of Workforce Solutions to ensure the NC Works Career Centers have the necessary tools and training for their employees to adequately provide digital literacy training to incoming job-seekers.

ED3.4 | Leverage NC Works portal and partner with NC DOC’s Labor and Economic Analysis Division (LEAD) and Division of Employment Security (DES) to reach citizens in need of digital literacy skills with training opportunities.

RECOMMENDATION 4: Encourage communities to include broadband in their economic development plans

ED4.1 | Encourage NC communities to include broadband in regional strategic planning like Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) plans.

  • CEDS plans are “strategy driven plans for regional economic development” required to be updated every five years by the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) for regions that wish to qualify for EDA assistance under its Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance programs. CEDS plans are also a prerequisite for regions to receive the “Economic Development District” designation.
  • Including strategies to increase broadband availability, adoption, and use in the regional CEDS plans will encourage regional focus and collaboration on increasing broadband availability, adoption, and use.

ED4.2 | Encourage NC communities to include broadband in their local planning efforts.

  • Often, communities create goals for their communities through strategic plans, comprehensive plans, or visioning documents or sessions. BIO should collaborate with other stakeholders such as the NC DOC, the Rural Center, other stakeholder organizations and key community leaders such as school superintendents or secondary educational institutions’ leaders to assist communities as they develop their plans. In this collaboration, BIO should provide strategies to increase broadband deployment, adoption, and use as an economic development tool.

 

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