EMSI Providing Analytic Tools for Communities to Effectively Use Stimulus Funds
Economic Modeling Specialists, Inc. (EMSI), a firm specializing in regional economic and labor market data and analysis, recently released a new report, "Which (Green) Project is Best for your Region?: Assessing Workforce and Economic Impacts, Return on Investment of Stimulus Projects." This report, which is part two in a series of articles on green jobs and the stimulus package, analyzes how communities can best position themselves when responding to new investments within the green industry. Now that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 has appropriated a significant number of dollars dedicated to green projects, EMSI believes that local education, workforce, and economic development professionals should work to apply these funds as investments that will have real, long-term impacts on the communities they serve.
To help workforce, education, and economic developers build a business plan and appropriately use these funds, EMSI has developed some basic guidelines to follow, including how to assess long-term vs. short term projects, understanding your region's economic base, how to use input-output modeling, applying fiscal impact modeling, and visualizing skills transferability so workers can be transitioned to and from various industries or occupations. All of this is meant to hold businesses and organizations accountable as they spend their stimulus funds, tempering widespread infrastructure development with the knowledge that not all projects will create long-lasting local jobs. In addition, EMSI seeks to create analyses that indicates which projects will have the largest regional workforce impact. EMSI also uses practical examples to emphasize that developing an economic impact model is an important step before implementing plans for stimulus dollars.
Rob Sentz, marketing director for EMSI comments, "It is crucial for local leaders to understand all projects, but especially those claiming to be 'green,' based on their real return-on-investment in terms of economic impact, lasting job creation, and positive state and local government fiscal effect. While this is not the only perspective for evaluating investments, it is a very important and foundational one."