Author: Brown, Laura

Black Lives Matter

As an educator in Community & Economic Development I stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement in denouncing systemic racism and white supremacy.  

The history of community and economic development is rife with examples of policies and programs that have inflicted economic violence against black, indigenous and people of color for many generations.  It is important that we all not only understand the history of these injustices but work diligently to identify and disassemble unjust systems.  

In my research, community outreach, and engagement I commit to working towards a more just and equitable society.   This will be an ongoing, self-reflective process to examine how I can contribute to inclusivity and tolerance in everything I do.  Specifically, in my personal and professional life I will: engage in challenging conversations about race, class, power, and privilege; amplify the voices and stories of those who have been left out of the discussion including making space for true listening; evaluate ways that I or my professional programming support structural racism;  learn the history of the land grant system, Cooperative Extension, Community Development and Economic Development and ways in which these institutions and professions have supported structural racism; and identify and take positive actions to support justice, equity, accountability, and transparency.

I will act with thoughtfulness and intent, and learn from missteps. We can do better. We must do better.  I welcome your thoughts and suggestions, which you can send to laura.brown@uconn.edu

COVID-19 Resources for Business, Economic Development, & Local Government

Updated May 27, 2020. Below is a list of business resources I’ve been compiling for State of Connecticut Businesses. This is a clearinghouse of resources, not an official site.  Please refer to the state resources below for official and legal guidance.

Economic development leaders, commissioners, and practitioners are invited a new unmoderated state listserv for information sharing- to subscribe go to: https://s.uconn.edu/econdevlist 

STATE OF CONNECTICUT RESOURCES FOR BUSINESSES

Note information and guidance is changing rapidly.  We will do our best to keep these resources updated as agencies provide updates. Stamford Economic Development Director Thomas Madden has also compiled an excellent list of business resources including legislation, bills, and loan information here.


Additional Resources

FEDERAL RESOURCES AND GUIDANCE FOR BUSINESSES

(Note: the SBA is currently finalizing disaster declarations related to Coronavirus. Once these are released, small businesses can apply. Check the website daily to see if/when CT will be eligible and/or call the CT SBA Office at 860-240-4700)

LOCAL GOVERNMENT RESOURCES

Economic development leaders, commissioners, and practitioners are invited a new unmoderated state listserv for information sharing- to subscribe go to: https://s.uconn.edu/econdevlist 

    OTHER BUSINESS PREPAREDNESS RESOURCES

    • SBA/SBDC Tips for BusinessesAs Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID19) spreads, it creates concerns in all our communities both in relation to staying healthy and safe, but also in terms of how local businesses may be impacted. We have assembled a list of tips and resources to assist you.
    • The City of Bellevue Washington has created a great site for impacted businesses here. Some resources are Washington specific but this Guide on Planning for a Coronavirus Pandemic – A Guide for Businesses and Organizations is a great summary of preparedness steps. One great tip from this site: It is extremely important to document business impacts as the situation is unfolding, both for insurance purposes and for potential future relief efforts by state and federal agencies.   Be sure your existing records are in order and keep records as the situation changes.
    • Washington SBDC Business Resiliency Guide 
    • CDC Guidance for Businesses and Employers – “All employers need to consider how best to decrease the spread of acute respiratory illness and lower the impact of COVID-19 in their workplace in the event of an outbreak in the US. They should identify and communicate their objectives, which may include one or more of the following: (a) reducing transmission among staff, (b) protecting people who are at higher risk for adverse health complications, (c) maintaining business operations, and (d) minimizing adverse effects on other entities in their supply chains.”
    • OSHA- US Department of Labor Updates 
    • Resources and Guidelines for Business from the US Chamber of Commerce “The U.S. Chamber is working closely with the White House, U.S. government agencies, and foreign government officials to inform and equip businesses with the most important and up-to-date information to ensure we are all adequately prepared to protect Americans at home and abroad.All employers should be ready to implement strategies to protect their workforce from the Coronavirus while ensuring continuity of operations. Download these guides created by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, which are based on information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to learn more about how employers and employees can prepare for and address the impacts of the Coronavirus.”
    • Prepare Connecticut Economic Resilience Handbook  This tool is designed primarily for natural resource disasters but includes valuable planning tools, resources, and recommendations for businesses and community leaders

      Be well- Laura Brown

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      Laura E. Brown, MS, CEcD
      Community & Economic Development Educator
      University of Connecticut – Department of Extension

      We’re hiring! Two summer internships available in Community & Economic Development

      Please help to spread the word about these two exciting paid student internships available for this summer! Compensation is $16/hour, 15 hours per week for 10 weeks ~ $2,400 (potential for additional hours) Students will have an opportunity to work closely with community & economic development professionals from across the state, contribute to applied programming, and gain employment experience.   Students in geography, sociology, public policy, urban and regional studies, landscape architecture, natural resources, economics, communications, are encouraged but all applicants will be considered. Strong communication skills and a desire to engage in meaningful community based work are required!  More details below.

      • Community & Economic Development – Best Practices in Land Use & Economic Development Program Internship – CEDAS – Open to Undergraduates and Graduate students.  Apply here or send your cover letter, resume & transcript to laura.brown@uconn.edu
      • Connecticut Trail Census Summer Internship – Open to UConn students only – Apply here – Contact laura.brown@uconn.edu

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      Community & Economic Development – Best Practices in Land Use & Economic Development Program Internship- CEDAS

      Supervisor contact: Laura Brown, Community & Economic Development Educator – New Haven County Extension Center, Contact- Laura Brown: 305 Skiff St, North Haven, CT 06473 Direct: 203- 407-3157 laura.brown@uconn.edu

      Office location: Remote. Weekly online meetings (computer required) will be required and some travel around the state may be required to fully participate in the program. Interns will have the opportunity to be present in an office in North Haven as needed.

      Background: 

      Extension programs in Community & Economic Development work in partnership with communities to engage, educate and build capacity of community residents, leaders and decision makers.  This work helps residents, community leaders, and decision makers  understand decision-making processes, respond to local needs and opportunities, and make informed decisions based on research. https://communities.extension.uconn.edu/  This internship will focus on the Best Practices in Land Use and Economic Development program https://www.cedas.org/Resources/CT-Best-Practices-In-Land-Use-and-Economic-Development/, a community accreditation program for municipalities in Connecticut intended to drive communities to pursue excellence in land use and economic development practices and recognize communities that have established best practices. In October 2019, twenty four municipalities were certified through this program.  The program is offered as a partnership between UConn Extension, the Connecticut Economic Development Association and the Connecticut Chapter of the American Planning Association.

      Tasks/Responsibilities: 

      This internship will focus on development of educational materials related to the Best Practices in Land Use and Economic Development program in collaboration with the Connecticut Economic Development Association programs committee including but not limited to: development of  case studies for inclusion in the Best Practices library, public communications, about the program and assistance with administration of the program application process.   The intern will work closely with the Community & Economic Development Educator to refine a work-plan based on her/his skills and interests.  

      Date ranges and work times: Weekly online meetings (computer required) will be required and some travel around the state may be required to fully participate in the program. Interns will have the opportunity to be present in an office in New Haven as needed as well as various program meetings and meetings of the Connecticut Economic Development Association Board in Rocky Hill but the majority of the work hours will be self managed.

      Learning objectives: Interns will:

      • Gain/ broaden their understanding of community & economic development program implementation and related career opportunities
      • Understand key concepts in municipal economic development practice
      • Enhance their skills in educational communications (writing and verbal presentation skills) for a public audience

      Mentorship commitment:

      Laura Brown will work closely with the intern to discover key learning objectives and interests within the scope of Community & Economic Development programs.  Brown will meet with the intern on a weekly basis by WebEx or face to face at a mutually agreeable time to check in on the work plan.  The intern will benefit from additional participation in program related trainings, meetings and activities around the state proving.  The intern will have the opportunity to meet and gain connections and career contacts with program partner organizations such as the Connecticut Economic Development Association, the Connecticut Economic Resource Center, and job shadowing with community & economic development partners. We will also support the student in identifying additional related learning and career opportunities following the internship experience. 

      Compensation:  $16/hour, 15 hours per week for 10 weeks ~ $2,400 with additional hours possible.

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      Connecticut Trail Census Summer Internship

      Supervisor contacts: Laura Brown, Community & Economic Development Educator – New Haven County Extension Center, & Charles Tracy, Connecticut Trail Census Coordinator, Middlesex County Extension Center Contact- Laura Brown: 305 Skiff St, North Haven, CT 06473 Direct: 203- 407-3157 laura.brown@uconn.edu

      Office location: Remote. Weekly online meetings (computer required) will be required and some travel around the state may be required to fully participate in the program. Interns will have the opportunity to be present in an office in New Haven or Haddam as needed but the majority of the work hours will be self managed.

      Background: 

      The Connecticut Trail Census www.cttrailcensus.uconn.edu is a statewide volunteer data collection program intended to inform a better understanding of multi-use trail use in the state of Connecticut and to make this important information available to trail user groups, administrators, government agencies, and the general public.  The goals of the project are to understand when, who, how, and why people make use of Connecticut’s multi-use trail, educate trail user groups, administrators, state and local government agencies, and the general public about trails and their impacts, obtain multi-year information about trail use, user demographics, economic impacts, and trail amenities for identification of patterns and trends, to promote active citizen participation in monitoring and understanding the value of trails, and to encourage sound trail building and maintenance programs based on data.

      Tasks/Responsibilities: 

      As part of the CT Trail Census project, this internship will involve assisting with all aspects of the Trail Census including input of and basic analysis of survey data, drafting communications, and assisting with educational programs.  In particular, the student will be involved with 1) the implementation of a new QR code based survey deployment and short term infrared counts on trails throughout the state, 2) gathering and reviewing trail data in for the new CT Trail Finder website portal, and 3) helping to prepare outreach for a social media campaign on the value of Connecticut’s trails (economic, public health, recreation, tourism, transportation).  The student should have the ability to read and summarize literature, excellent communication, writing and organizational skills, and ability to work effectively independently.  There will be opportunities for sharing this scholarly work with peers through a peer reviewed journal piece, presentations, conferences and webinars.

      Date ranges and work times:  Remote. Weekly online meetings (computer required) will be required and some travel around the state may be required to fully participate in the program. Interns will have the opportunity to be present in an office in New Haven or Haddam as needed but the majority of the work hours will be self managed.  Dates and work hours will be mutually agreed upon at the start of the internship.

      Learning objectives: 

      • Understand concepts and protocols for measuring, recording and publishing the impacts of state and community outdoor recreation facilities;
      • Learn about the multiple values of community and long-distance shared use trails;
      • Learn how state agencies partner with local and private conservation organizations to advance and promote outdoor recreation.
      • Enhance their skills in educational communications (writing and verbal presentation skills) for a public audience

      Mentorship commitment:

      In addition to assisting with the required learning documentation and resume review, Charles Tracy and Laura Brown will work closely with the intern to discover key learning objectives and interests within the scope of the Trail Census project.  We have found weekly meetings to be very successful ( our leadership team currently meets weekly by WebEx) and we would envision the intern participating in these meetings.  We would also encourage the intern to participate in Trail Census trainings, meetings and activities around the state proving them with connections and career contacts in our program partner organizations such as the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the Connecticut Forest and Park Association and the National Park Service. We will also support the student in identifying additional related learning and career opportunities following the internship experience. 

      Compensation:  $16/hour, 15 hours per week for 10 weeks ~ $2,400.

      New Resources on Trails and Economic Development

      Over the past few months I’ve received an increasing number of resources related to trails and their economic impacts on communities so I thought it was about time to share some of the relevant resources I’ve created and compiled on the topic.  Several years ago my great intern John McDonald created this Trail Resource Page which I have started to update. Communities all over Connecticut have also been learning more about trails and their impacts, starting with a presentation in 2018 “Downtown Trails as Community & Economic Development Engines” for the Connecticut Main Street Center’s Bridge Series.   I’ve also recently posted a related presentation for the International Economic Development Council Conference in 2019 “Trails as Economic Development Engines.” Please feel free to access these slides and please cite them if used. Over the next year I’ll also be working on a new publication series highlighting some of the key community benefits of trails.  These will be short 1-2 pagers that communities can use to cite other studies and literature.  We’re thrilled to be partnering with the National Park Service on this project thanks to a Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program Grant received by the Connecticut Trail Census.

      CEDAS WELCOMES MUNICIPALITIES TO SHOWCASE ‘BEST PRACTICES’ IN LAND USE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

      I’ve been so lucky to have he opportunity participate in the CEDAS and CCAPA Best Practices program over the last year or so.  Now until Sept 15, 2019 the program is accepting applications!  Read more on the CEDAS program site and in the release below.

      [ROCKY HILL, CONNECTICUT July 2019] The Connecticut Economic Development Association (CEDAS) is announcing the launch of the ‘Best Practices in Land Use and Economic Development’ certification to recognize Connecticut municipalities for outstanding land use practices.

      In creating this program, CEDAS partnered with sponsors Eversource, UI, CNG, SCG, Pullman & Comley, and STV/DPM to present this accreditation as a strategy for sharing information on planning policies and as a catalyst for economic development in Connecticut. Collaborating partners include the Connecticut Economic Development Association, Connecticut Economic Resource Center, the Connecticut Chapter of the American Planning Association, and the University of Connecticut-Department of Extension.

      The Best Practices program provides a tool for planners, economic developers, and community leaders to review their existing strategies for economic development and drives them to pursue creative, community specific practices for encouraging investment and smart planning. “This is a great opportunity for staff, commissioners, and elected officials in every community to improve their effectiveness in economic development by reviewing their existing strategies and understanding what they could improve.” said Garrett Sheehan, President of CEDAS.  “We’re interested in giving communities ideas and tools for making improvements that work best for them.”

      The program was designed over the past two years with significant input from economic development professionals and planners.  According to Kelly Buck, CEDAS Board Member and Co-Chair of the Best Practices Committee “This program is the result of a unique collaboration including a diverse range of partners. We’ve reached out to share the idea with groups like the Connecticut Developers Forum, the Homebuilders and Remodelers Association of Connecticut, and the Connecticut Chapter of the American Planning Association and were very interested in learning from communities presently leading the way.”

      Communities who document use of established best practices will be recognized and will receive an award at the CEDAS annual meeting in October, 2019.  Applications will be evaluated by a committee of each of CEDAS’ collaborating partners. To demonstrate continuous improvement, applicants may re-submit for recertification every three years and share their successful strategies as models of ‘Best Practices’ for other Connecticut communities. The program will be revised each year to reflect input from communities.

      Interested communities can download the application and read more about the program athttps://www.cedas.org/Resources/CT-Best-Practices-In-Land-Use-and-Economic-Development/.  Applications are due on September 15, 2019.  Information and questions about the program may be addressed to cedasprograms@gmail.com

      The Connecticut Economic Development Association works closely with the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) and the Connecticut Economic Resource Center (CERC) to foster economic growth in the state through its support of legislation, connect planners, policymakers, and community leaders with information on development practices and strategies, and to co-sponsor events to attract businesses and investment to Connecticut. Learn more about CEDAS atwww.cedas.org.

      Welcome Best Practices Intern Kevin Fitzgerald

      New CEDAS intern to work on Best Practices in Land Use and Economic Development Program

      The Connecticut Economic Development Association is pleased to welcome Kevin Fitzgerald as the program intern for the newly launched Best Practices in Land Use and Economic Development Program.  Kevin will assist with development, research and administration of the program.  Kevin is an incoming Master of Public Administration candidate with the University of Connecticut and a 2018 graduate from UConn in Political Science and Urban & Community Studies. While in Storrs, Kevin completed his Honors Thesis in Political Science on the use of eminent domain for economic development in the 2005 Kelo v. New London decision.  Kevin plans to focus his coursework on development and urban planning and after completing his masters Kevin looks forward to pursuing a law degree and assisting towns with economic development projects as a land use attorney. Kevin spent this past spring interning in the Town of Stonington’s Department of Planning and he looks forward to contributing to the Town of Berlin’s Kensington Village development as a member of the UConn MPA program.  In his free time Kevin likes to follow UConn and Boston sports, run, and hike.

      The Best Practices in Land Use and Economic Development program is sponsored by Eversource, United Illuminating, Pullman & Comley, and STV/DPM.  Collaborating partners include the Connecticut Economic Development Association, Connecticut Economic Resource Center, the Connecticut Chapter of the American Planning Association, and the University of Connecticut- Department of Extension.

      Download the 2018 Connecticut Economic Development Survey Report!

      The results of the 2018 Connecticut Economic Development Survey are complete!  Read more about the report here or or download the report as a PDF file.

      The purpose of the Connecticut Local Economic Development Organization Survey is to understand who is involved in economic development activities in Connecticut and how economic development strategies are conducted at the local level over time.  This information may be used by municipalities, local elected officials, and resource providers to support economic development programs that are most effective and relevant to communities across the state.  The survey was assessed as a Qualtrics online questionnaire in February, 2018 with a response period of three weeks.  A link to access the questionnaire was disseminated through the Connecticut Economic Development Association and Connecticut Conference of Municipalities list serves as well as the Connecticut Chapter of the American Planning Association and personal distribution lists of coordinating partners. The survey included 28 questions regarding the structure and organization of economic development functions, investments made in economic development, economic development programs and strategies and how are they evaluated, and demographic information about economic development staff.  A copy of the survey tool is available upon request and as an appendix to this report.  This project was reviewed by the University of Connecticut IRB and was determined to not qualify as human subjects research under 45CFR46.102.  Significant findings are highlight in bold in the text below.

      CT Trail Census Receives $206,049 Grant

      CT Trail Census Receives Grant

      Our Connecticut Trail Census program recently received $206,049.50 in grant funding from the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) Trails & Greenways Program and the Connecticut Greenways Council. UConn Extension’s Connecticut Trail Census is a statewide volunteer-based data collection and education program implemented as a pilot from 2016-2018 on 16 multi-use (bicycle, pedestrian, equestrian) trail sites across the state.

      First Impressions Innovate! Wraps up a Successful Pilot

      Volunteer teams of economic development staff, innovators, business and community leaders from Hartford, New Haven Stamford and New London/Groton wrapped up the pilot year of the First Impressions Innovate!  program this fall. As a part of this partnership with CTNext, UConn Extension faculty Laura Brown and Miriah Kelly provided education and facilitation among communities chosen as “Innovation Places” (New Haven, Hartford, New London-Groton) and Stamford to understand best practices in creating entrepreneurial ecosystems at the community level, establish meaningful evaluation, monitoring and assessment approaches, and engage peer learning between entrepreneurial innovation related programs and communities through the First Impressions Innovate! – a “boots on the ground” audit that allows communities to understand their entrepreneurial assets.  UConn’s work impacted over 40 community leaders involved in the program steering committees (city officials, planners and economic developers, representatives of major employers, directors of incubators and accelerators) with an investment of 13.9 million dollars (50 state funds and 50% leveraged at the community level) in place and capacity based programming in the four designated communities.  Read the Executive Summaries from each of the communities here. 

      Below:  Debrief luncheons involving the teams from the First Impressions Innovate Communities.