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A tool for growth that benefits everyone

Metro areas around the nation look to Nashville as a model of economic development done well. Its output grew by nearly 25 percent from 2010 to 2015, transforming its downtown and bringing with it an unprecedented boom in high-wage jobs in the professional-services and health-care industries. Yet over the same period, earnings for the average worker fell by nearly 2 percent -- an even greater decrease than the national average. Half of the region's families still make less than the $50,000 a year required to be self-sufficient. Different versions of this story are playing out in every region, from transitioning industrial centers like Indianapolis to knowledge capitals like San Diego. Bridging these growing gaps by making economic growth more inclusive is the defining economic and social challenge facing cities. Yet despite being the most influential voices and agenda-setters on economic issues in many regions, regional economic development organizations (EDOs) have generally avoided wading into this issue.

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