The National League of Cities Institute (NLCI) is excited to be a core partner in the Economic Recovery Corps (ERC), a new project of the Economic Development Administration in the US Department of Commerce. NLCI’s mission is to represent the voice of America’s cities, towns, and villages, and to build the capacity of local governments to serve their residents’ needs. Our economic development programming focuses on helping more communities invest in entrepreneurship and local businesses, creating more inclusive, resilient economies for everyone. The ERC is a natural outgrowth of this strategy.
Over the last few years, a big part of NLCI’s work with our member cities has been to help them weather the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic downturn; to secure federal funding to support municipal governments; and to help local governments make smart investments that enable them to build back stronger and more equitably. NLCI sees the ERC as an opportunity to build on our work with the CARES Act and ARPA to help more communities implement sustainable strategies for growth and resilience.
NLCI’s role in the project is to represent the interests of cities of all sizes, particularly those in rural areas and those that have historically had challenges accessing federal funding for economic development and redevelopment efforts. This partnership will help break down the urban-rural divide, recognizing that 76 percent of the 19,500 incorporated municipalities NLCI represents have fewer than 5,000 people.
We look forward to working together to increase communications between local governments, county governments, and regional economic development authorities, helping them all to serve their residents by improving opportunities in their geographies. We believe this project will positively impact not just regions selected to host an ERC Fellow, but to disseminate lessons learned and strategies that work across the country. The capacity these fellows bring will make wide-ranging, sustained improvements to equitable economic development into the future. It is with pleasure that this collaboration opens doors to the next generation of leaders aiding their regional economies.