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Friday, March 30, 2007

Regional action plan unveiled ~ Story by Jay Miller

The long-awaited economic development agenda for the region was rolled out this morning for more than 200 of the region’s civic leaders, including Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher, Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic and Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson. The action plan, called “Advance Northeast Ohio,” has been nearly two years in the making.

It embraces a number of efforts already under way and calls for a series of regionwide actions to improve the economy of Northeast Ohio. Goals include greater cooperation among regional governments and improved programs to train the work force of the future.Rob Briggs, chairman of the Fund for Our Economic Future, the coalition of philanthropic organizations behind the action plan, said he hoped the plan would turn the “quiet crisis” of the regional economy into a “noisy renaissance.”The action plan is the end product of 18 months of community dialogue through the $3 million Voices & Choices program that the fund mounted and financed.

It includes more than 30 separate programs — some already under way — that are designed to bolster different aspects of the region’s economy by improving the way government operates, the way students and adults are prepared for the work force and by reaching out to better grow and attract new businesses.Mr. Fisher lauded the program in a news conference after the morning program. He said the Strickland administration intends to carry this action plan model to other regions of the state and to work to get the state’s regions to work better together.


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