Melissa Hoover is the Executive Director of the United States Federation of Worker Cooperatives (USFWC), the national membership organization for worker cooperatives, founded in 2004. She is also a founding director of the nonprofit Democracy at Work Institute, which provides technical assistance resources to worker cooperatives. Read more about Converting Existing Businesses to Worker Cooperatives...
A recent article in Atlantic Cities by Richard Florida, titled "Where 'Eds and Meds' Industries Could Become a Liability," has caused a bit of a stir. The article warns that relying on anchor institutions such as local universities and hospitals (also known as “eds and meds”) for economic development is chancy.
On November 5th, residents of Boulder, Colorado went to the polls to decide whether or not the city should continue on its path towards a locally controlled public utility devoted to expanding renewable energy and reducing carbon emissions. At issue was ballot question 310, an initiative backed by the existing corporate provider Xcel Energy that would have crippled the city’s municipalization efforts by placing severe debt and other restrictions on the process. Just as they did in 2011 when city residents voted to form their own public utility, Xcel energy spent large amounts of money trying to influence local voters. This time around the company spent $800,000 dollars, bringing its total for both elections to approximately $1.8 million.
America’s colleges and universities are at a crossroads. For all too many students, a college education has become a major economic gamble. Over the past three decades, inflation-adjusted tuition has more than doubled at both public and private universities. Meanwhile, professors are harder to find: tenured and tenure-track professors have gone from roughly 45 percent of all teaching staff to less than a quarter since 1975. In short, students and their parents pay much more for much less faculty time.
Our anchor dashboard project continues to catalyze conversations about how anchor institutions can consciously assess the impacts they have on neighboring low-income communities. Our executive director Ted Howard outlined the project for Baltimore's WYPR (listen to the conversation here), spoke to Next City about how comprehensive metrics help produce anchor-led economic development that doesn't result in the unintended effects of gentrification and displacement, and blogged about the Dashboard for the San Francisco Federal Reserve's "What Works for America's Communities" project. The Dashboard has also been presented to audiences across the country, including at ICIC's Inner City Economic Summit and at a four-city teleconference in the "Redefining Rustbelt" series, organized by the Federal Reserve Banks of Richmond, Chicago, Cleveland, and Philadelphia (video from both events is forthcoming).
But what was supposed to have been the launch event for the Anchor Dashboard —a presentation at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)—was a casualty of the recent government shutdown.