Project Updates

Update #11: CEDS Investment Priorities | February 2022

Atlas Community Studios (Atlas) and Broad Ripple Strategies (BRS) collaborated with the CEDS Resilience Committee to develop investment priorities for the CEDS and Resilience Plan, especially as it relates to advancing local and regionally-significant projects by leveraging federal and state funding opportunities.

The CEDS Investment Priorities include the following:

  1. Expanding and strengthening employment and education opportunities that provide stable family wage jobs.
  2. Investments in entrepreneurship and home-grown business development to build a sustainable, diverse economy.
  3. Preserving and investing in the region’s natural and cultural assets to strengthen economic potential.
  4. Creating and/or improving reliable, consistent access to critical infrastructure in North Central Pennsylvania.
  5. Providing sufficient availability of right-sized, right-priced housing throughout each county within the North Central Pennsylvania region.

Update #10: Vision Statement | January 2022

Atlas Community Studios (Atlas) and Broad Ripple Strategies (BRS) prepared a draft vision statement for the CEDS Resilience Committee to review for consideration. During the Resilience Committee meeting on January 18, the group discussed revisions to the proposed vision statement as well as goals and objectives for CEDS investment priorities.

Update #9: Presentation to the CEDS Committee | December 2021

Atlas Community Studios (Atlas) and Broad Ripple Strategies (BRS) prepared a presentation which included key components of the CEDS such as the:

  • Summary Background, which contained new quantitative research and leveraged existing studies and reports
    • This also included a trend analysis for current and past economic disruptions
  • Regional SWOT Analysis, which was based on existing research, data, and stakeholder input collected through public visioning sessions, focus groups, interviews, and online survey
  • COVID-19 Impact Analysis, using state and national comparison data
  • Key Findings and Conclusions (which were also included in the Summary Background and Regional SWOT Analysis)

Atlas and BRS made the presentation to the full CEDS Committee on December 1.

To view a recording of the CEDS Committee meeting, click HERE. To access the recording, use the passcode CEDS!Meeting1201.

Update #8: Summary Background & SWOT Analysis | November 2021

Atlas Community Studios (Atlas) and Broad Ripple Strategies (BRS) developed the Summary Background, conducting new quantitative research and leveraging existing studies and reports. Included in the Summary Background, BRS conducted a trend analysis for current and past economic disruptions. Additionally, BRS developed an analysis of regional strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) using existing research and data and input collected by Atlas through extensive community engagement exercises and regional research. Key findings and conclusions, including COVID-19 impacts, were included in the Summary Background and SWOT analysis.

Click HERE to review the Summary Background and SWOT Analysis.

Update #7: Focus Groups & Interviews | October 2021

The Atlas Community Studios (Atlas) team visited the North Central Pennsylvania region for the second time October 12-15 to facilitate six focus groups emphasizing the following topics: Large Employers and Area Utilities, Workforce Development, K-12, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Transportation and Public Infrastructure, and Tourism. The focus groups were offered at the Penn State DuBois LaunchBox and also via Zoom for those who could not attend in person.

On October 19, Atlas and Broad Ripple Strategies (BRS) met with the Resilience Committee to share project updates and solicit committee support in identifying relevant individuals to interview to complete the public engagement process before the development of the Summary Background and SWOT Analysis. BRS continues to work on the data collection and assessment of indicators (using 2020 Census figures and previous to show trends). 

Atlas began working with North Central to identify individuals to participate in interviews. Most of these individuals were identified as potential focus group participants but could not attend their respective meetings and/or were set aside as those who would be better suited for one-on-one interviews given the significance of their perspective on the CEDS and economic trends of the region.

Atlas and BRS interviewed the Pennsylvania Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship team to learn more about the work they do, how they intend to grow their impact in the North Central region, and the contents of the Build Back Better application submitted to the U.S. Economic Development Administration. 

Update #6: Data Collection | September 2021

Atlas Community Studios (Atlas) and Broad Ripple Strategies (BRS) met with the full CEDS Committee to hear updates from regional economic development leaders and elected officials, share project updates, and answer any questions from the broader group. Atlas also met with the Resilience Committee to share project updates and solicit committee support in preparing for the October focus group sessions. BRS continues to work on the data collection and assessment of indicators (using 2020 Census figures and previous to show trends).  

Atlas and BRS will be hosting hybrid focus group sessions October 13-15 with the following targeted sectors and topics:

  • Large Employers and Area Utilities
  • Workforce Development
  • K-12
  • Small Business and Entrepreneurship
  • Transportation and Public Infrastructure
  • Tourism

Update #5: Existing Plans/Studies & Data Indicators | August 2021

The North Central team met virtually with Atlas Community Studios to discuss the next steps toward planning for October focus groups. During this meeting, the group reviewed preliminary data indicators, narrowed the lens to identify topics for focus groups, and discussed needs for additional stakeholder input via individual interviews. Outside of this meeting, Altas and Broad Ripple Strategies (BRS) continued the review and analysis of existing plans and studies from throughout the region.

Additionally, BRS has begun compiling data indicators that will inform the Summary Background and SWOT Analysis. These data indicators are drawn from a wide variety of public and proprietary sources and will be contextualized with stakeholder input (ex. visioning sessions, surveys, focus groups, etc.) to “tell the story” about how the North Central region serves as a place to live, work, and do business. 

Some of the data indicators being evaluated include, but are not limited to, the following:

Demographic

  • Total population change
  • Age composition
  • Educational attainment rates

Economic

  • Total employment
  • Largest and fastest growing industry sectors
  • Percentage of employment in small businesses

Socioeconomic 

  • Average annual wages
  • Household incomes
  • Total and child poverty rates

Quality of life

  • Home values and rental affordability
  • Building permits issued
  • Commuting times and patterns
 

Update #4: Public Survey | July 2021

The Resilience Committee met virtually with Atlas Community Studios (Atlas) and Broad Ripple Strategies (BRS) on Tuesday, July 20th. During this meeting the team discussed the emerging themes stemming from the public visioning sessions, reviewed the public survey instrument, and began brainstorming potential topic-specific focus groups and key stakeholder interviews which are scheduled to take place in October 2021.

The survey is available for the public to complete online or on hardcopy until October 20, 2021. Please share with your family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues to help shape the future of the North Central Pennsylvania region!

Update #3: Site Visit | June 2021

The Resilience Committee met virtually with Atlas Community Studios (Atlas) and Broad Ripple Strategies (BRS) on Tuesday, June 15th. During this meeting the team discussed the upcoming public visioning sessions and coordinated outreach to each of the six counties. Between June 21-24 the Atlas team visited the North Central Pennsylvania region to facilitate public visioning sessions in Cameron, Clearfield, Elk, Jefferson, McKean, and Potter counties. During these visioning sessions, the Atlas team uncovered five emerging themes: (1) Workforce development and talent attraction, (2) Public infrastructure deficiencies (ex. water, sewer, drainage, roads, pedestrian facilities) and broadband accessibility, (3) Tourism development especially revolving around recreational and natural assets, (4) Housing, and (5) Community resiliency. After this trip, the team began developing questions for a survey that will be available to the public in July and will be offered online and in hardcopy.

Update #2: Public Outreach | May 2021

The Resilience Committee met virtually with Atlas Community Studios (Atlas) and Broad Ripple Strategies (BRS) on Tuesday, May 18th. During this meeting the team reviewed a list of existing plans, studies, and other relevant materials from each of the six counties, including a new website (Discover PA Six) developed by Workforce Solutions for North Central Pennsylvania in partnership with regional organizations. Additionally, the team began planning public visioning sessions to be facilitated by Atlas during their site visit to the region June 21-24. Public visioning sessions will be held in each county and will be offered virtually (via Zoom) and in-person). Interested participants must register in advance.

Atlas and BRS also joined the full CEDS Committee for their virtual meeting on Wednesday, May 19 to learn more about the work of Pennsylvania Wilds and how each of the six counties are considering leveraging their funds appropriated through the American Rescue Plan Act. 

Update #1: Project Kickoff | April 2021

The Resilience Committee met virtually with Atlas Community Studios and Broad Ripple Strategies on Tuesday, April 6th. This team reviewed the contracted scope of work, walking through each phase of the project, confirmed the proposed timeline, and identified project milestones – established indicators to help keep the team on track. Additionally, the project team discussed various anticipated data needs and named regional resources to help source that information. The team will meet on the third Tuesday of each month through the life of the project to share updates, discuss upcoming priorities and projects, and identify resource needs.