Responding to Refugees: Here and Abroad

Posted on May 10, 2017 by Terrence Isert

Interesting news highlighted in an op-ed by Senators Corker and Coons with regards to a new Food for Peace Reform Act. The legislation, originally submitted in 2015 and resubmitted depicts one of many critical needs for refugee support services in international settings such as the developing famine crisis in Sudan.  Beyond basic needs of food and shelter, refugees resettled in the U.S. require a variety of psycho-social, education, health care and economic development services. These services help speed up the process of assimilation which in turn can provide economic benefits both to these new American households but also to their newly adopted communities.

Are Trade Deals Good for the American Worker?

An Article from Politico on the intertwined NAFTA and TPP

Posted by Terrence Isert, March 7, 2017

Help or hindrance? At ProMicro Consulting, I’ve thinking a lot about the recent national discussions around trade deals and the popular conception that free trade hurts American manufacturing workers and jobs A recent arti. is recent article in Politico juxtaposes criticisms and advantages of the recently rejected TPP as a pathway to a better NAFTA.  Much has been made of the manufacturing job losses totaling 5 million since 2000. However, manufacturing have seen a recent uptick of 800,000 jobs in the period of 2010 to 2014. This number is significant in that some economists have quantified this amount as the number of manufacturing jobs shipped to our trading partners, particularly Mexico.

The story of free trade and jobs runs deeper than that however.

The economics of these trade deals are tricky and in this case interwoven more with trade deficits, the Great Recession, the pace of manufacturing outputs and politics in the US. According to the US Census, the trade deficit alone ballooned since 2000  (30.2B, March) to 2017 (48.3B, January figures) according to the at least indirectly affecting industries such as manufacturing. NAFTA was always manufacturing and agriculture-heavy in its focus, the former losing 5 million jobs since 2000(see EPI article) although a modest rebound of 800,000 jobs has occurred since 2010. By comparison the TPP was focused more heavily on service industries where the US has a large trade surplus even with Mexico. The new trade deal under TPP was designed to address some of the labor-protection issues, open up access to new markets (dairy industry in Canada) and insert environmental measures missing from NAFTA.

What is clear is that the US missed an opportunity to update a trade deal with its North American partners to improve its trading relationships benefiting more American workers and an opportunity for broader and deeper access to new and existing Asian markets. Those deals may be harder to strike unilaterally and now less favorable to US jobs and its economy.

Rebuilding Urban Communities: Light it Up

Posted by Terrence Isert, January 10, 2017

When it comes to rejuvenating an urban community, expert opinions will often cite a variety of political, social and economic ills that range from the need for education reforms, infrastructure investments, improved racial equality and political reforms among many critical leverage points. Adding citing lighting is not something that leapst to mind. however Detroit has accomplished a milestone on its way to its goal of urban revitalization by doing just that. Read more about the city of Detroit’s latest success here.

Sustainable Rural Communities: Mining, Tourism, Youth or All of the Above

After my recent research into community economic development in Atikokan and Siene River First Nations (Ontario) in September, my travels will take me to Ely, MN  this month to discuss similar economic potential with business and community leaders. Like so many other rural communities, this small rural community on the doorstep of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area wilderness managed by the USFS is at a crossroads of an aging demographic and lower patronage rates to the park resulting in fewer tourism dollars. Sulfide mining presents an opportunity both in terms of jobs, increased local business growth and a future for youth so that they may stay in the area. . It is a chance for communities, similar to Atikokan to survive. A central question that I will continue to explore in future posts is whether extractive industries are the only option for a community’s survival, particularly for the retention of its youth or other options available such as expanding environmental tourism or a blend of both? Check out a couple rural perspectives in these links here in Ely  and MN

And elsewhere.

Where is the Intersection between Tourism and Sustainable Community Development?

Posted on August 26, 2013 by Terrence Isert

As the summer hiatus is winding down here in North America, I finished up some business and vacation travels that took me from the Midwest through parts of southern Ontario and Quebec into New England. What strikes me most when I pass through some of these small communities is their proximity to nearby tourist destinations and how little some have appeared to benefit economically from this. I wondered what sustainable community development from an economic perspective looks like if towns don’t benefit from these typically large “revenue-generators”. Where is the intersection of tourism and sustainable community development located and what does this symbiotic relationship look like? There are several perspectives and resources accessible here   that can provide some intellectual momentum for finding these complex solutions.

The Different Faces of Rural Economic Growth: Ontario or Bust

Posted on June 10, 2013 by Terrence Isert

Does rural economic growth differ depending on where you are or are the principles applicable everywhere? Last week I trotted up to Ontario to visit our neighbors to the north and begin an informal survey of some local communities in southern Ontario that include nearby First Nation communities. Does rural development, economically-speaking look the same as it does States-side?  What constitutes sound, sustainable rural development for a community such as Atikokan for example? Is it different for this tiny rural town, nestled in the rugged, timber-covered lands on the northern boundary of Quetico Provincial Park in southern Ontario than one of its First Nation neighbors such as Seine River? Are they both dependent upon the tourism industry to bring visitors and their purchasing power or is the key to economic development the extraction of precious metal mineral resources such as gold deposits identified just 23 km north of Atikokan in 2009? Or does it come from Canadian provincial government intervention programs such as RED (LINK) to create entrepreneurship via local partnerships in technology, social enterprise and cultural? Is there a happy medium? What avenues exist for geographically-isolated First Nation communities such as Seine River with limited local assets such as a health center, education facility and a community center? This survey will look to tease out key factors in the coming months that these local communities can leverage to revitalize and strengthen their local human capital to link to regional and national economic growth and ultimately answer the question of what works best in rural economic development for these isolated communities?