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A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce


Blog Post

U.S. Department of Commerce and the National League of Cities To Host Community Forums in Eight Cities to Help Support Underserved Communities

March 17, 2016

In many parts of the country Americans are feeling the effects of our economy’s turn-around. With new job opportunities, new business growth and improving quality of life, these Americans and their communities are thriving. Unfortunately, in some of our urban areas this is not the case. Some of our neighborhoods are being left behind.

The US Department of Commerce (DOC) is partnering with the National League of Cities on Cities of Opportunity, a collaboration to connect these communities with Commerce resources that can help them transform their cities.

DOC works with businesses, universities, communities, and the nation’s workers to promote job creation, economic growth, sustainable development, and improved standards of living for Americans. Through its 12 bureaus and nearly 47,000 employees located in all 50 states and territories and more than 86 countries worldwide, the Department administers critical programs that touch the lives of every American.

DOC is keenly focused on helping communities take advantage of opportunities for trade and attracting investment; catalyzing innovation and entrepreneurship in all of our communities; ensuring communities and businesses are prepared to prosper in a changing natural environment, and transferring Department data capabilities and supporting a data-enabled economy. The new Cities of Opportunity partnership will increase our cooperation and boost the visibility of programs available to cities and regions through the Department of Commerce.

To do this, we will execute a series of forums in eight cities that will connect us with local leaders, private businesses and philanthropic organizations. The eight cities are:

  • Baltimore
  • Cleveland
  • Detroit
  • Fresno
  • Memphis
  • New Orleans
  • Pittsburgh
  • St. Louis

These forums will help the communities begin to develop a local or regional Economic Opportunity Agenda for the benefit of their neighborhoods in fiscal distress.

  • Each city will select a local high distress area and will work directly with seven DOC bureaus to identify opportunities for potential technical assistance.
  • At each forum the community leaders will discuss their goals for improving economic opportunity, their plans to develop a path forward and where opportunities already exist. DOC will provide an overview of how the community might leverage existing department opportunities to help in those areas.

Each city will receive a DOC point of contact that will facilitate engagement within Commerce to ensure coordination and alignment of the department’s varying divisions. The cities will also receive access to specific data sets that align with their economic development goals and strategies to help further define gaps and opportunities. Each city will also be assigned an NLC point of contact to ensure consistent follow up and engagement with other cities in the partnership.

The Council on Foundations is joining our partnership to ensure that philanthropy is a part of this conversation, helping to leverage opportunities that philanthropy is already pursuing in each community. A set of metrics to measure the effectiveness of this partnership and possible similar partnerships moving forward will also be developed.