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Syracuse gets pro help from Brookings Institution for business plan

Emma Jacobs
Brookings' Amy Liu and the Metropolitan Policy Program will be providing tech support to a new business plan for the Syracuse region. Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner is at the right.

The Brookings Institution announced Tuesday it will help the central New York region write business and export plans.

The goal: get everyone on the same page and produce a plan that actually gets executed - not just fill up a binder to throw on the bookshelf.

The planning projects will involve some heavy number crunching at first, like a market analysis looking at concentrations of industries, and characteristics of the workforce, like education level.  Employment numbers and productivity will also factor in. The first research numbers from the effort should hit desks this fall.

Then Brookings will come up with some concrete ways for businesses and regional governments to line up their resources. The hope is that some of the region's old strengths and resources could have a second life in the new economy.

It's a private sector model that Amy Liu, co-founder of the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, says could play a big role in the public realm.

"There's enormous demand right now for regions in this economy to be intentional about economic transformation," says Liu.

The Syracuse business plan is part of a second round of cities to receive the treatment from Brookings, after pilots in Seattle, the Twin Cities, and Northeast Ohio.

"We are very excited about the intellectual capital and planning and credibility you are bringing to our region," Mayor Stephanie Miner told representatives of the think tank on Tuesday.

Export strategy included

Brookings will also be helping Central New York develop an export plan, to help companies find markets overseas. Syracuse produced $1.3 billion in exports in 2009. That figure made up just over two percent of exports from New York State (according to U.S. Department of Commerce figures).

Nationwide, Brookings' Metropolitan Export Initiative aims to support the Obama administration's push to double overseas exports. Other cities targeted include Portland (OR) and Los Angeles.

Former WRVO/Central New York reporter for the Innovation Trail.
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