How do we create jobs in the creative and knowledge sectors? First of all, the government doesn’t create jobs. Instead, it can facilitate the creation of jobs by the private sector through creating environments conducive to private sector endeavor. Creating such environments is the work of Economic Development professionals. So, what kinds of Economic Development strategies work for the creative and knowledge economies? Well, these models are inverted from traditional models.

In addition to recruiting businesses who bring jobs, we must leap over them and recruit and retain talent to create jobs. The businesses are born of the talent and move to the talent. So, how do we recruit talent? The answer lies in engagement. Creative talented individuals want to participate in creating the place in which they live. Plus, not only is it a win for the community to retain these folks, but their input is valuable on many levels.

We have two wonderful examples of talent engagement going on here in Rock Hill, SC. One is a project where we have Winthrop MBA students working with the Eco Dev Department of the city to use the technology Aday Remus ( to digitally prototype feasible business ideas for the redeveloping area Knowledge Park in Old Town. The second example is a local collaboration called the Hive ( The Hive is a workforce training program that brings together the local university, technical school, and school district with a private sector Internet Marketing firm (RevenFlo) to train students to do Internet Marketing work by designing and developing websites for local non-profit organizations. The project is not only workforce development, but it is place-making economic development, as it is located in the Old Town district.

These examples seek to create collaborative endeavors that engage local talent in the development of their own community, thus creating buy-in and therefore recruitment and retention. Check them out if you get the chance.