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Accepting the C2ER Award for outstanding economic research that supports collaborative community/regional initiatives are, from left, Richard Schumacher, manager of technology initiatives for Louis Community College’s Workforce Solutions Group; Ronda Anderson, workforce research manager for the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center; and Alan Spell, economic and workforce research manager for the Missouri Department of Economic Development.

STLCC/MERIC Research Project Earns National Award

Accepting the C2ER Award for outstanding economic research that supports collaborative community/regional initiatives are, from left, Richard Schumacher, manager of technology initiatives for Louis Community College’s Workforce Solutions Group; Ronda Anderson, workforce research manager for the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center; and Alan Spell, economic and workforce research manager for the Missouri Department of Economic Development.

A joint project between St. Louis Community College and the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC) recently received a national award for outstanding economic research that supports collaborative regional initiatives.

STLCC and MERIC representatives recently received the award from the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) during the organization’s national conference in Atlanta, Ga. C2ER is a national membership organization of economic development researchers, represents professionals working for chambers of commerce, economic development organizations, local government, utilities, academic institutions, and regional planning councils.

The C2ER awards recognize the contribution of research activities to the success of local, regional or state/provincial economic development initiatives. The purpose of the award is to increase the quality of economic development research by identifying meritorious projects and promoting the diffusion of creative ideas for research activities.

STLCC and MERIC collaborated in 2017 on middle skills studies, each with a different approach to shedding light on employer needs and career opportunities. MERIC looked at existing research to analyze the state’s middle-skill jobs and published the Missouri Middle Skills Report to highlight the findings in July 2017. STLCC conducted an employer survey of area businesses to understand middle-skilled workforce needs and trends. STLCC’s Workforce Solutions Group published its report, “Right in the Middle: Skills at the Center of the St. Louis Economy,” in August 2017 and presented findings at its annual State of the St. Louis Workforce Report event.

Projects could be submitted for evaluation in the following categories of research activity

  • Projects that support business and workforce development activities
  • Data collection/dissemination efforts, including web-based systems
  • Policy Analysis supporting federal, state, or local initiatives
  • Project impact/program evaluation or assessment
  • Projects that support collaborative community/regional initiatives

The projects were judged on their contributions to the economic development research field; innovative approach, implementation or collaborative efforts; responsiveness to customer needs; and benefits resulting from project implementation. The seven highest scored projects were chosen out of 23 submissions.

Also receiving awards were the Detroit Regional Chamber/Macomb County Planning and Economic Development, Dallas Regional Chamber, Iowa Workforce Development, State of Michigan, Greater New Orleans Inc., and the Allegheny Conference on Community Development from the Pittsburgh region.