Montrose Group is Focused on COVID 19 Economic Recovery Services

Amid the negative news stories, skyrocketing unemployment numbers and a myriad of webinars and videoconference calls, nearly a month into a COVID 19 world, the Montrose Group is focused on economic recovery.  Local, state and federal policy makers are promoting social distancing and a range of public health steps designed to limit the spread of COVID 19 which is a critical step in the nation’s economic recovery.  

The reality is our world will not be the same for some time even as the spread of COVID 19 slows.  What will be the same is it will be up to the company and economic development leaders to revive an economic that has been stopped in its tracks.  To prepare for COVID 19 economic recovery, regional economic development organizations need to start now with a two step process: assess the economic damage and launch a business development program.  

The Montrose Group implements a two-step process to provide economic recovery services for disasters like COVID 19 that define the challenge, limit the damage to current employers and prepare a community for growth in a post-disaster marketplace.  The first step in the Montrose Group’s approach for COVID 19 economic recovery is to take a detailed assessment of the economic damage. Working with leading economic development data experts like Emsi, the Montrose Group recommends a data dive to measure the before, during and after of the disaster’s impact on the region’s economy, workforce and employer base and review of: 

Emsi Job Postings Analytics Approach.  Job Postings Analytics (JPA) is currently the best source for real-time data, and the interface has been modified to expose daily postings with a 1-2 day lag at the most. JPA can also help measure the demand for talent in a given region. It is more granular than traditional labor market information (LMI), providing details about the labor market (e.g. specific skills requested by employers) that LMI simply can’t. 

Emsi Input-Output Model Approach.  Emsi’s Input-Output model helps economic and workforce development leaders understand the impact that job losses and reduced regional earnings will have on regions. An Input-Output model represents the flow of money in an economy, primarily through the connection between industries; to what extent are different industries buying and selling to one another in a particular geographic region. Also accounted for in an I-O model, are things like government spending, household spending, investments, imports and exports, all of which help us gain a full picture of what is happening in an economy.

Emsi Skill Shape Analysis for Upskilling Opportunities.  Typical workforce analysis has defined jobs in terms of the standard occupation codes (SOC) used in government reporting. The problem is that these standard definitions cannot accurately define the nuances of a role and often lag market realities significantly. Emsi is taking a fundamentally different approach by using the organic relationships of skills in postings and online worker profiles to develop a unique and real time common language of roles as “skill shapes” to connect higher education and the job market. This “skill shape” approach is significantly more specific and flexible than previous relationships (including CIP to SOC crosswalks). Additionally, Emsi’s data-driven approach responds to market changes and emerging skills with unprecedented speed and fluidity.  Previously, analysis of market supply and demand have been largely constrained to the scale of educational completions (CIP codes for degrees at various levels) and occupational openings (SOC codes for roles of various levels). Yet, a thorough analysis of supply and demand cannot be a mere glance at job titles or occupation codes. To properly assess the real supply and demand of a community/region and to understand gaps or surplus, we must conduct the diagnoses at the skills and skill shape level. The resulting skills identified can provide a wealth of information and inform the broader work of economic and workforce development organizations as they reposition their workforce and regional economy.  

Emsi Supply Chain Analysis.  A supply chain analysis can be used to find leakage in the economy, or where money is leaving a region that might otherwise be captured. It can also be used as an exploratory tool for deciding what businesses might be a good fit for a region. COVID-19 treatment is increasing the demand for life saving medical devices and personal protective equipment. Emsi is seeing proactive partnerships take shape to reposition manufacturing plants and workforce to increase the volume of production of life saving equipment. As partnerships take shape and repositioned facilities and workforce need to be identified, Emsi can provide a supply chain analysis to help community leaders understand if their regions possess supportive industries and labor to accommodate these important opportunities.  

Defining the COVID 19 economic challenge is only the first step to economy recovery.  The Montrose Group recommends a focus on business development through three distinct steps. 

Post Disaster Industry Targets.  COVID 19 will impact industries to create winners and losers.  While much of traditional retail will be a COVID 19 loser and industry winners will center on logistics, distribution and fulfillment centers and a likely wave on back-shoring for newly defined critical industries tied to pharmaceuticals, health care, personal protection equipment, medical equipment and food processing.  The Montrose Group will align a new group of industry retention and attraction company targets for regions by matching up their current industry strengths based upon the Emsi generated data about the region and develop an economic development marketing strategy to connect with those groups using traditional economic development tools as well as social media through a marketing and media audit and recommendations for participating in key trade shows, thought leadership, social media and media relations strategies to retain and attract industries in these post COVID 19 marketplace.   

Site Development Plans.  Economic development needs a site that is primed for capital investment.  Solving that site development puzzle is a critical step that requires public and private sector partners working together to address land use entitlements, zoning, infrastructure financing, tax incentives and provision of utilities require for a site to attract high-wage jobs and capital investment.  The Montrose Group, working in conjunction with an engineering consulting firm, will provide site development plans for major project sites that would be attractive locations for industries that will grow in a post COVID 19 market. These site development plans will include an analysis of the potential sites land use entitlements, recommendation of a tax abatement and infrastructure finance approach, outline transportation and infrastructure needs and costs of the site and outline other potential funding sources that can support the company growth through a site plan sources and uses analysis.  

Advocate for Project Funding.  A $2.2 T COVID 19 federal stimulus package contains funding for longer term economic development projects.  Federal EDA funding can be used for economic development strategic planning purposes and implementation planning and soon to be release program rules for how the $1.5 B in federal stimulus can be spent will provide insight into this program.  CDBG priorities for the $5 B in federal stimulus spending include activities that address infrastructure, economic development projects, public facilities installations, community centers, housing rehabilitation, public services, microenterprise assistance with a strong focus on employing at least 51% low- to moderate-income persons, eliminating slum and blight, or meet an “urgent” need.  The USDA’s Rural Development programs will receive a total of $145.5 M to fund $20.5 M for the Rural Business-Cooperative Service, adding $1 B in lending authority, $100 M in grants for Rural Broadband Service, and $25 Million for Distance Learning and Telemedicine Programs.  The Montrose Group will work to review community projects, develop a sources and uses chart to connect funding options for these community projects, develop project applications for connected program funding sources and advocate for their funding.  

Regions can recover from COVID 19 stronger than they were before the public health crisis; however, economic recovery will not happen evenly among regions and those with a focused strategy are more likely to bounce back quicker and higher.  
Please contact Dave Robinson at drobinson@montrosegroupllc.com if you have questions or need assistance with COVID 19 economic recovery services.

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