Conference on Jobs and Community Wealth, November 2 and 3 in Utica

Job growth in Upstate New York continues to lag behind downstate New York and the entire nation. Traditional economic development programs like tax breaks do not seem to be working.

The Central New York Citizen Action, in partnership with The Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties, will hold Jobs and Community Wealth conference in Utica on November 2 and 3.

The conference will explore innovative, democratic approaches to economic development that broaden ownership and participation in the economy and help build community wealth through employee owner enterprises, cooperatives, public and community-owned financial institutions, and social enterprises. It will focus on practical strategies and policies that will strengthen the Upstate New York and help lower income people get jobs. Information will be available for local groups and entrepreneurs on starting community-owned enterprises. The conference will highlight on how the economic power of anchor institutions such as the proposed new Utica hospital can be leveraged to create jobs and promote equitable development. All the conference events are free and open to the public. Refreshments and lunch will be provided without charge.

The conference will begin with a community forum at 7 p.m. on Thursday, November 2nd at the DeSales Center, 309 Genesee St. Utica, NY 13501. Jessica S. Rose, CFO and Director of Employee Ownership Programs at the Democracy Collaborative, a leading national research and field building institute, will deliver a keynote address on how community wealth building and employee-owned firms can benefit the Upstate economy. She will be joined by Ronald Deutsch, Executive Director of the Fiscal Policy Institute, who will provide a critique of traditional economic development programs that make communities compete using tax abatements to lure big businesses. At the community forum, Citizen Action will a release a report showing how current economic development policies can be made more effective by using a community wealth building approach.

The conference will resume on Friday, November 3rd from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Westminster Presbyterian Church (714 Washington St, Utica, NY 13502). Panels and workshops will be held on innovative economic policies, alternative ownership models, financing, anchor institutions, public banks, and social enterprises and how these models are being successfully implemented in Buffalo, Rochester, and other cities.

Jessica S. Rose said: Community wealth building strategies are an important tool in the economic development toolkit because they help improve family economic security, root wealth in communities, and keep jobs local. At a time when so many American families feel that their economic interests have been forgotten, New York state is a leading innovator in the effort to create an environment friendly to broad-based ownership models and incentivize more activity in that space. From Rochester to Buffalo to Syracuse and New York City, we are starting to see a critical mass of community wealth building activity that could add up to some very powerful results.”

More information on the conference can be found by calling 315.725.0974,, or at: Persons interested in attending the November 3 conference should pre-register at Please share this on Facebook and your friends and colleagues. Thank you.