Weekly Reader

Friday, July 17, 2020

Economic Development
I recently found this editorial piece on LinkedIn that was written by a well-known economic development consultant. It seems appropriate to share.

“All else pales. In all my speeches to economic development groups prior to the pandemic, I warned of a coming wave of automation and digital technology that would upend the work force, destroying some jobs while altering how and where work is done for nearly everyone.

If we just look at past economic downturns as our guide, we see companies investing in more labor-saving automation to cut costs and increase efficiency.

I’m absolutely convinced that COVID-19 will only accelerate that trend. By May, half of Americans were working from home, tethered to their employers via laptops and Wi-Fi, according to a recent study.

The rapid change reveals the need for retraining focused on digital skills, which pervades all industry groups. That was my message last week to an economic developer in Alabama.

“This is the moment when we should make a significant public investment, when we should have a Marshall Plan for ourselves,” David Autor, a labor economist at M.I.T. told the NYT.

The need for immediate and unprecedented investments in our workers is the single most important factor to transforming a community. I cannot say that enough.

For much of rural America, this is all about relevancy and whether your community has much of a future.”

Source: Dean Barber

There is a great section on Reopening Guidance in the July Labor and Industries newsletter.

Initial Regular Unemployment Claims by Education Level – Washington State

Click here for the ESD news release with additional information to complement the table above.

Here is a piece form the Western Governors’ Association regarding a new Policy Resolution on Rural Development. This is one point from the resolution, “High-speed internet, commonly referred to as “broadband,”1 is the critical infrastructure of the 21st century and a modern-day necessity for individuals, businesses, schools and government.  Many rural western communities lack the business case for private broadband investment due to the high cost of infrastructure and the low number of customers in potential service areas.  This has left many rural businesses and citizens at a competitive disadvantage compared to urban and suburban areas with robust broadband access.”

Green Transportation: WSDOT posted the formal notice of funding this week, for which all transit authorities are eligible. A short informational webinar is scheduled for Tuesday, July 28, beginning at 11:15 a.m. to cover some program essentials. Once you’ve reviewed the notice, we encourage you to register for the webinar if you intend to apply for funding. As much as $12 million is available for this round of funding, and the application deadline is Wednesday, September 30.

The Consolidated Grant Program will open in about a week. Training on the WDOT Consolidated Grant program is scheduled for the following times to help you get up to speed on the new application system and process. The Consolidated Grant Program provides finding for transit and public transportation programs.

Community Development / Other
Here is a story from WSU on living to be 100.

The CWCOG Annual Report is now posted on the website and can be found on the homepage.

Here are a couple of links to articles that might be of interest.

Back to School in the times of COVID 19. Click here for an update from the Washington State Department of Health.