Today, the Obama Administration launched Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2), a new and customized pilot initiative to strengthen local capacity and spark economic growth in local communities, while ensuring taxpayer dollars are used wisely and efficiently. To accomplish this, federal agencies will provide experienced staff to work directly with six cities: Chester, PA; Cleveland, OH; Detroit, MI; Fresno, CA; Memphis, TN; and New Orleans, LA. These teams will work with local governments, the private sector, and other institutions to leverage federal dollars and support the work being done at the local level to encourage economic growth and community development.
Through this pilot, the Obama Administration will focus on three key goals:
- Improving the way federal government does business: Cutting through red tape and rationalizing the federal bureaucracy to help deal with the overlapping maze of agencies, regulations and program requirements that are sometimes confusing to local governments;
- Providing assistance and support – working with local communities to find ground up, not top down solutions: Providing on the ground technical assistance and planning resources tailored to local governments’ needs and helping them use the federal funds they already receive more efficiently and effectively; and
- Partnering for growth:Developing critical partnerships with key local and regional stakeholders that encompass not only municipal and state governments, but also new partnerships with the business community, non-profits, anchor institutions, faith-based institutions, and other public, private, and philanthropic leaders.
SC2 pilot cities were selected on the basis of economic need, strong local leadership and collaboration, potential for economic growth, geographic diversity, and the ability to test the SC2 model across a range of environments. Federal assessment teams spent time on the ground working directly with mayors and other local officials to determine needs, opportunities and gather input for the pilot initiative.