A Roadmap for Regional Job Creation
One of the most pressing economic issues facing the Gulf States region is the development of a 21st century workforce to support the region's economic development in the coming decades.
Workforce challenges often do not respect municipal or even state lines, which is why RAND in 2010 is focusing on the needs of the entire region. We are partnering with policymakers, state and local agencies, nonprofit and foundation leaders, and a number of other key stakeholders to develop a strategy that can ensure that the region develops the human capital needed for economic growth.
We will keep you posted on upcoming RAND-sponsored policy forums and roundtables in your state to further discuss these issues.
RAND Senior Economist Discusses the Importance of "Social Infrastructure" to Development
In December 2009, RAND Senior Economist Dick Neu addressed the Council for a Better Louisiana (CABL) in Baton Rouge to discuss the importance of a multifaceted development strategy for Louisiana.
"Economists know you need capital and a decent workforce, but even after measuring these things, they often still don't know why some places prosper and some don't," Neu said. "Economists are starting to understand that a society's underlying institutions, attitudes and customs are key."
At the heart of the development puzzle, in the Gulf States and throughout the country and the world, are two sometimes-competing economic development philosophies. One path is to focus on what are perceived to be the industries of tomorrow and building the infrastructure to support them. But this "imported development" approach often leaves a large proportion of the population behind. Alternately, a community might focus on cultivating the resources it already has—"homegrown development." This might serve the locals better, "but if you do that without an eye toward the future, you may get through this generation and be left nowhere in the next," Neu said.
Dick Neu travelled to the region to meet with leaders in workforce development and economic development in Jackson, Gulfport, and Mobile. Each session included representatives from local policymakers, government agencies, business and civic leaders, and nonprofits.
RAND's Work on Hurricane Recovery in the Region to Inform National Disaster Preparedness Strategy
RAND has been working with the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to develop the National Health Security Strategy. The Strategy was submitted to Congress in December 2009, and now RAND is developing the Biennial Implementation Plan with HHS.
RAND Researchers Anita Chandra and Joie Acosta convened a focus group in New Orleans on January 29 to discuss the strategy and implementation plan. The planning meeting included local leaders from nonprofit, community, and faith-based organizations as well as government officials.
Related Report: Recognizing the Role of Nongovernmental Organizations in Human Recovery
Changing emergency planning rules to make nongovernmental organizations a key component of recovery efforts could get them involved earlier and speed the full recovery of communities after disaster strikes.
Recent Publications in Louisiana
Helping Traumatized Populations Recover after the Hurricanes
Evidence-based mental health response is feasible, but requires targeted resources, increased provider capacity, and advanced planning.
RAND Population Survey in New Orleans Reveals New Information About the City's Population Growth
The new Displaced New Orleans Residents Survey (DNORS) is designed to examine the current location, well-being, and plans of people who lived in the City of New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005.
Updates from Our Mississippi Office
Melissa Flournoy with Ivye L. Allen, President of the Foundation for the Mid South at the January open house
New Jackson Office Celebrates with an Open House
On January 25, RAND Gulf States held an open house with Advisory Board Chair Leland Speed at its new Jackson Office. RAND Gulf States is grateful to Leland Speed for his leadership in Mississippi.
Welcome Jason Dean, Mississippi Policy Liaison
RAND Gulf States is pleased to welcome Jason Dean as our adjunct Mississippi Policy Liaison. Jason was vice-president at the Mississippi Economic Council, a former policy advisor for Governor Barbour, and a White House Fellow. Jason has a Ph.D. in education from the University of Mississippi. RAND Gulf States Director Melissa Flournoy said, "We are thrilled to have Jason on board. His in-depth understanding of the policy issues in Mississippi make him an asset to our team."
Reconstructing Haiti: RAND Testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Jim Dobbins, Director of the RAND International Security and Defense Policy Center, testified January 28 before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Haiti's reconstruction.
He concluded, "The current crisis, though tragic, offers the chance to boost Haiti out of decades of poverty and misrule. A successful strategy for doing so will require...a focus on strengthening Haiti's governing institutions."