New Data Tools and Resources You Should Use!

In my on-line travels over the past few weeks, I’ve come across several interesting sites and resources that are worth a look.  These tools and reports assess a number of emerging issues related to economic and community development.  Check these out when you can!

  • Following the Money:  The Atlanta Fed has been doing some excellent work in areas related to economic and workforce development in recent years, and I’ve plugged them on many occasions.  Now, they’ve created a nice data tool to look at how your region is doing in terms of attracting philanthropic dollars.   As foundations become more important players in community development, we need to understand where and how they invest.  This tool will help you get started in understanding what’s happening in your region.
  • Bon Appetit Appalachia:  As part of its current strategic plan, the Appalachian Regional Commission is making a big push to support local and regional food systems investments.  The Bon Appetit Appalachia site helps you find food and food systems resources across Appalachia.  If you’re a foodie, a beer nut, a wine snob, or you just like a local or state fair, this is a good site for you.
  • Virginia Incentives:   Work with the Pew Trusts and the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness, I’ve been involved in some interesting work with many states to improve how they track and report their economic development incentives.  This work has generated lots of interesting results.  The latest comes from Virginia, where the Virginia Economic Development Partnership has created an excellent new web tool for tracking and reporting state incentives.  Even if you have little interest in Virginia, the site is worth a visit as a great tool to improve transparency and public understanding around business incentives.
  • Prison to Proprietor report:  In addition to plugging these data resources, let me also promote a new report from the Aspen Institute’s FIELD program. This study looks at how entrepreneurship can be a tool to help integrate ex-offenders back into the community.  Finding employment—including self-employment—is the main factor in ensuring that formerly incarcerated people have a successful re-entry and post-release experience.   This study reviews the field and profiles some the fascinating local projects now operating—and succeeding—across the US.
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