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Grow Where?

Top 16 Community-Based Challenges or Opportunities Dallas/Fort Worth Faces That Could Impede Economic Development and Growth

Economic Development

A Year In Review Following My Volunteer Service on The United Way of Metropolitan Greater Dallas GroundFloor Committee and Completion of the Dallas County Community College District Bill J. Priest Institute of Economic Development Market Needs Assessment

I spent a year as an independent consultant traveling across Dallas-Fort Worth attending numerous community meetings, meeting with senior community leaders, small business executives, corporate executives, politicians, bankers, venture capitalists, school district officials, and local residents. This afforded me the opportunity to collect valuable data, assess community needs and talk to the people of Dallas-Fort Worth on the ground. Here, I present a summary of the the results illustrating where the metroplex stands in 2018 according to the ground work and statistics from recent reports and studies. It is my hope that in 2019, we will show markers where new capital investments have been made, new innovative programs have been implemented, diversity and equity in application of resources is celebrated, and lives in underutilized communities have been changed for the better.

If Dallas-Fort Worth wants to be hub for innovation, change, and a global engine for economic development the active groups must take action - now. This is a list of 16 opportunities (or challenges, to some) to get it right. It is a call-to-action for decision-making authorities to work collectively in assessing, investing, and building a new region. Some groups, investors, and politicians are already working on plans (which is a positive step in the right direction,) but have yet to pull the the proverbial trigger on solutions in key areas. We will be watching to see what happens over the next year. The clock is ticking.

Top 16 Challenges

  1. Surplus of Undeveloped Land in Southern Dallas, Yet Insufficient Capital Investment and Immediate Job Creation In The Area (Underutilization)

  2. Unfunded Public Pre-K Education and Insufficient School Funding (Underfunded)

  3. Lack of Direct Corporate Involvement and Investment in the Local Public Education System and College Workforce Development Programs (Disengagement)

  4. Shortage of Trained Construction Workers and Apprenticeship Programs for Underutilized Young Adults, But Plans to Significantly Increase Commercial and Residential Construction Over the Next 12-18 Months (Inexcusable)

  5. Insufficient Public Transportation System Connecting Underutilized Residents to Viable Job Opportunities From Southern Dallas-to-Irving-to-Arlington-to-Plano-to-Richardson and Grand Prairie (Disconnected)

  6. Insufficient Economic Development Programs, Jobs and Public-Private Capital Investment Programs for Vetted Minority, Veteran and Women-Owned Businesses in the Southern and Southwest Region (Indiscriminate)

  7. Failure to Launch an Innovation Hub in Southern Dallas that Focuses on New and Innovative Product Development, Available and Affordable Office Space for AI, VR, Manufacturing, Tech Laboratories and Culinary Space for Small Business Use, Programs to Train Talent to Meet Industry Changes (Indecisive)

  8. Sustained Food Deserts Which Are Catalysts for Increased Chronic Diseases and Mortality Rates in Southern Dallas and the Southwest Region (Undercapitalized)

  9. Deficient Number of Healthy Quick Service Restaurants and Drive-Thru Options In Southern Dallas and the Southwest Region (Insufficient)

  10. Increased Healthcare Costs, Increased Rent Costs and Minimal Increases in Pay Rates (Irresponsible)

  11. Disproportionate Rates of Representation and Insufficient Diversity on Local Corporate and Major Nonprofit Boards Across Dallas/Fort Worth (Uninformed)

  12. Marginal Capital Investment in STEM and STEAM in Southern Dallas and the Southwest Region (Incongruent)

  13. Lack of Interest in Political Science, Advertising, Economics, Culinary Arts, Engineering, Accounting, Construction, Science and Math by Youth and Adult Students in Southern Dallas and the Southwest Region (Uninspired)

  14. Insufficient Affordable and Quality Housing to Meet The Demand for Inventory in Growing and Safe Neighborhoods (Negligent)

  15. Insufficient Investment of Federal and State Capital in Viable and Innovative Workforce Development Programs by the State Workforce Development Board Designed to Meet the Labor Needs of Local Small Businesses and New Corporate Enterprises (Uninviting)

  16. Lack of Adequate and Sufficient Investment in Nonprofit Innovations and Socially Responsible Technology Designed To Serve The Communities and People in Need (Inadequate)

*This assessment is solely the opinion of Cynthia Nevels.


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