“Despite the popularity of industry-focused approaches to regional economic competitiveness, it has been argued that cluster-based and sector-focused strategies cannot achieve the same level of success in rural regions as in their neighboring metropolitan areas due to a lack of industry density, a small workforce, fewer educational institutions, and fewer viable organizations to act as a convener or 'intermediary' of a cluster network or sector partnership.
…In fact, research for this paper indicated that all regions, including urban and rural, would benefit from better integrating industry clusters and sector partnerships. To do so, regions must understand the map of their industry clusters, sub-sectors and firms to truly identify how to effectively support industry growth, as well as opportunities for good jobs for individual workers. Scale may be better achieved by viewing 'sector strategies' in the context of industry clusters, or strategies that directly promote industry clusters. It may be at the intersection of sector partnerships and cluster associations that positive change within systems, and positive outcomes for firms and workers can reverberate out, draw attention from others, be replicated, and become the new paradigm for how regional economic growth occurs" (p. 1-2). (Abstractor: Author)
Major Findings & Recommendations
“The thoughts presented are the result of observations and lessons learned by the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce (CSW) from their extensive work with states to implement regional, industry-focused economic growth strategies, as well as from research and conversations with national workforce and industry cluster thought leaders. This paper was intended to deepen national understanding of the policy features that integrate cluster and sector approaches toward comprehensive rural economic growth. It offered: • Clarification on what cluster-based and sector-focused strategies look like in practice and policy; • Suggestions for how cluster- and sector-focused strategies might be better understood for increased effectiveness in rural economies; • Spotlights of industries being supported and grown across rural America; and • Policy tools to promote effective industry-focused strategies in rural areas” (p.2). (Abstractor: Author)