February 11, 2022

Build Back Better Regional Challenge Conference Video Recordings Now Available to Help Broader Economic Development Community

Building resilient regional economies requires specific strategies to incorporate equity, ensure effective governance, create competitiveness and secure commitments to action. To assist our Build Back Better Regional Challenge finalists as they continue to develop their strategies, EDA brought together world-class experts during a virtual conference that was held February 2-3, 2022.

While the conference provided critical technical assistance to finalists as they prepare their Phase 2 applications, the information that was shared can be helpful to any community that is working to transform their regional economy, create jobs or develop an inclusive economic development strategy for growth.

Today, EDA is pleased to share the video recordings of the best-in-class trainings and panel discussions in topic areas such as building coalitions, developing strategies, ensuring equity and engaging local industry partners.

We hope you find these recording valuable and share widely with your colleagues!

Watch the full conference here.

Click here for the full event packet (PDF).

Below are conference highlights:

Defining outcomes and organizing for success

Speakers: Bruce Katz, The Nowak Metro Finance Lab at Drexel University; and Jon Schnur, America Achieves. Moderator: Avanti Krovi, The Nowak Metro Finance Lab at Drexel University.

This session helps finalists refine their overarching vision and strategy for competitive industry clusters to drive transformative economic impact. The presentation covered how region should be thinking about their specific needs and assets; how to strengthen strategic and project coherence to create an integrated, competitive strategy; how to plan for evaluation and decision-making as projects unfold; and how to get in front of barriers to scale and success.

Building equity into everything

Speaker: Don Edwards, Justice and Sustainability Associates. Moderator: Brian Schwartz, Justice and Sustainability Associates.

This session focuses on understanding what equity is and isn’t, and why equitable economic development requires intentional, inclusive engagement. A focus on equity should be woven throughout economic development strategies and this session helped participants reflect on how they’ve done that effectively, and what needs to be improved. The speaker discussed how to design equitably, both in process and outcome, and how to measure progress during project implementation.

Keynote address by Ginni M. Rometty

Ginni M. Rometty, former Chairwoman, President and CEO of IBM, gave keynote remarks and discussed how to engage businesses in successful workforce development programs that support regional economic development. As a former CEO herself, Rometty stressed that to ensure long-term success, local coalitions need sustained and engaged senior leadership participation from the private sector, most often at the CEO level. Introduction by Todd Fisher, Program Director American Rescue Plan, U.S. Economic Development Administration.

Supercharging local partnerships and driving commitments to action

Speakers: Dan Correa, Federation of American Scientists; Ishan Sharma, Federation of American Scientists; and Kathleen Warner, America Achieves. Moderator: Jenn Steinfeld, National League of Cities Institute.

This session focuses on how to engage and leverage large employers or other major regional anchors in the cluster, and on the value of specific, public and high impact commitments to action from those partners. It also helps applicants gain targeted support from other key actors, including state and local officials and philanthropies, within their proposals.

For more information about the Build Back Better Regional Challenge, click here.

These video recordings are one of many EDA resources to assist with developing local economic development strategies, as well as successfully applying for EDA grants.

Contact your state’s Economic Development Representative, for more assistance: