NELP’s 2008 Great Lakes Economic Revitalization Summit

Economic Revitalization. Manufacturing Renewal. Shared Prosperity. These are the common challenges facing progressive leaders in the manufacturing heartland stretching from Western New York to Eastern Iowa. This webpage gathers resources addressing these challenges developed by our partners and guests concerned with building an economy that works for low-income and middle class families in this region and across the U.S.

As part of this effort, we invited labor representatives, public officials, workforce and economic development practitioners, and policy experts to join us for an economic revitalization summit to share best practices and explore shared regional solutions on April 17, 2008 in Cleveland, Ohio.

Participating staff from policy organizations included National Employment Law Project, Policy Matters Ohio, Keystone Research Center, Fiscal Policy Institute, Steel Valley Authority, Progressive States Network, Center for Economic and Policy Research, Economic Policy Institute, Brookings Institution, Apollo Alliance, and Center on Wisconsin Strategies. Labor representatives from Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio attended, as did workforce and economic development public officials from Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and New York.

This webpage includes summit presentations, related presentations provided to us by other experts, and valuable links to resources that address the key questions facing economic policymakers today: How do we keep and develop good jobs that will support middle class families?

Click here for our Summit Agenda.

Rapid Response, Peer Networks, Early Warning Programs and Layoff Aversion

Many states in the region are working to implement better practices in the core workforce development programs, including more effective rapid response, using peer networks and labor management committees. Many states in this region and elsewhere are interested in expanding beyond these core dislocated worker programs by establishing early warning networks and layoff aversion programs based upon the model developed by Pennsylvania's Steel Valley Authority. Presentations from the conference included Federal Requirements and Best Practices in Rapid Response and SVA Early Warning Networks and Layoff Aversion.

Manufacturing Revitalization and Retention

The conference included presentations by Stephen Herzenberg, Keystone Research Center, Bob Baugh, Director of AFL-CIO Industrial Union Council, Dan Swinney, Center for Labor and Community Research, and economist Sue Helper, of Case Western, author of a recent Economic Policy Institute paper on manufacturing policy.

Regional Cooperation on Federal Issues and Economic Development

A goal of many summit participants and policy partners is to increase communication and cooperation among manufacturing states in the Great Lakes region. Topics for potential cooperation include: (1) working with other states in our region to develop and promote a federal manfacturing and regional economic development agenda, (2) developing better information and data on regional supply chains, labor markets, and firms to assist states and the region in grappling with these issues, and (3) increasing the use of best practices in workforce and economic development with better information sharing and cooperation among states in the region. To explore these and other emerging regional issues, several conference participants have agreed to continue working together on these topics.

For more information regarding our follow up efforts, contact Andy Stettner, Deputy Director, National Employment Law Project at

See also our work in the area of economic and workforce development, including additional publications and links of interest to those concerned with economic revitalization.