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Background

The mandate of the Wage Growth Task Force was to develop an action plan to accelerate wage growth in the Bloomington/Monroe County Metropolitan Statistical Area to reverse economic underperformance relative the State and Nation since the Great Recession of 2008-2009.

With the overarching goal of moving Bloomington toward a stronger, more sustainable economy, Mayor Hamilton asked the group to consider the following questions:

  • What are the most successful cities in America doing to help build a stronger, more sustainable economy?

  • What key resources exist in Bloomington that can be coordinated or aligned to help achieve a better economy?

  • What have we tried in the past that has worked well, or not so well, to improve our economy?

  • What are some tangible steps that key local players could take to improve the economic future for all our residents?


The members of the task force presented their final report to Mayor Hamilton on December 12, 2016. This presentation was recorded by Community Access Television Services and can be watched here

     

    Conclusions

    The Wage Growth Task Force recommended six key initiatives: 
     

    • Branding Bloomington: Answering the question why locate to Bloomington? Being a cultural crossroads for tourism and retirement does not produce economic viability, diversity and growth. Building on our existing clusters of life sciences, light manufacturing, Information Technology and Craft Spirits creates an economic identity that is unique and compelling.
       
    • Creating an Innovation Culture among Bloomington’s City and County leaders and staff aligned behind shared objectives for economic and cultural growth begins with Rainforest Scorecard Assessment and includes community-wide facilitated discussions.
       
    • Creating Quarterly Business/ Academic/ Stakeholder Gatherings to cross-pollinate ideas, business connections, collaborations, co-marketing, co-selling opportunities and building a sense of community.
       
    • Focusing concerted time and money strengthening early childhood education in cooperation with the Community Foundation’s initiatives in order to support local families and prepare the upcoming generation for careers in the innovation economy.
       
    • Skills Gap Training to match Bloomington’s existing labor pool with high demand/ high wage local jobs. This requires analyzing which skills gaps exist and which high demand jobs are unfilled and using Community Foundation workforce training programs and Ivy Tech’s Corporate College offerings to fill workforce gaps.
       
    • Solving the problem of smaller, fast-growth companies inability to compete for labor on benefits could be a marquis recruiting tool for our local economy. Several providers are listed who may be able to customize a cost-effective plan by grouping a dozen or more companies and several hundred employees into an umbrella group.

     

    Wage Growth Task Force Members 

    After presenting their final report in December of 2016, this board was retired. 

    Co-Chairs: David Audretsch, Distinguished Professor and Director, Institute for Development Strategies, Indiana University and Jane Martin, retired Venture Capitalist, Silicon Valley and Massachusetts

    Members:

    • Jerry Conover, Ph.D. Director, Indiana Business Research Center, Kelley School of Business, Indiana University
    • Lynn Coyne, President and CEO, Bloomington Economic Development Corporation
    • Liz Feitl, AFL-CIO Community Services Liaison, United Way of Monroe County
    • John Fernandez, Dentons U.S. Chief Innovation Officer and Partner
    • Tom Guevara, Deputy Assistant secretary, Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce
    • William Morris, Staff Attorney, Indiana Legal Services-Bloomington
    • Kathleen Oliver, Oliver Winery
    • Tina Peterson, President and CEO, Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County
    • Joseph Varga, Department of Labor Studies, Indiana University
    • Ron Walker, Vice President, Commercial Real Estate, CFC Properties
    • Linda Williamson, Mayor's Liaison for Economic Development

     

    City of Bloomington Director of Economic and Sustainable Development Director Alex Crowley provided staff support.