This week we had the opportunity to talk about Rethinking Economic Development Incentives for the 2020s with the State Economic Development Executives (SEDE) Network. Here we highlight two emerging trends and policy responses that we discussed in a webinar offered to the SEDE Network in collaboration with our partners at the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness.

Adapting incentives in response to tight labor markets and talent shortages

  • Options beyond training grants and customized training services
  • Thinking beyond job counts when offering incentives
  • Becoming more discerning regarding job quality when offering incentives
  • Scaling incentive offers by alignment with strategic workforce objectives
  • Assessing options that incentivize people, not just businesses
  • Improving targeted incentives that expand work opportunities and labor force participation for the substantial numbers of individuals with disabilities, ex-offenders, and those with substance use disorders (including opioid recovery)

Deploying incentives to support rural economic development

  • Reviewing the state incentive portfolios
  • Deploying financial incentives so that they complement broader state and local strategies
  • Tying incentives to rural development policies addressing people, place, and business
  • Attracting new talent to rural areas
  • Helping more current residents enter the workforce and find quality work 
  • Accounting for diverse needs among rural communities when developing state policies
  • Blending incentives with other state and local strategies (broadband, capital investment, physical improvements to streets and buildings) to maximize impact
  • Balancing support for dominant employers while supporting entrepreneurial and small business growth

The SEDE Network is a forum for state economic development and commerce agency CEOs, executive directors, commissioners and their deputies to exchange information, learn from one another, and advance the practice and impact of economic development across the nation. The SEDE Network connects the top economic development officials in each state to stay informed on emerging issues, share best practices, and collaborate more effectively. The Pew Charitable Trusts provides funding to support this work in partnership with the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness.