Emerge 2040 Progress Update – January 2016

Emerge 2040 Progress Update – January 2016

February 5, 2016

Emerge 2040 Progress Update
January 2016
   Participants at the March 26, 2015 release of the Destination Erie plan
2015 was a milestone year for Erie County. In the spring, our community completed Destination Erie, the region’s ambitious 25-year plan to build a more prosperous and resilient future. Emerge 2040 was launched to put this vision into action. As steward of the plan, our aim is simple: to ensure that Erie County realizes the future it envisioned for itself during the planning process.

Emerge 2040 Implementation

The work of implementing the plan will not happen overnight, yet on many fronts it has already begun. Last year you, your colleagues, friends, and family took significant steps in moving Erie County forward toward achieving key Emerge 2040 goals:
  • The Erie Regional Manufacturing Partnership (ERMP), in partnership with organizations throughout Western PA and Ohio, secured a nearly $3 million grant from the Department of Labor to support apprenticeship programs. The ERMP is a group of 20 manufacturers who are working together to grow the region’s manufacturing sector by addressing the sector’s workforce needs.


  • The Erie School District’s Central Career & Technical High School launched “Tech After Hours,” a workforce development program that provides in-demand job training and placement to out-of-school youth and displaced adult workers. Upon certification, students will receive job placement services through partnerships with employers countywide. The program leverages Central Tech’s resources and the expertise of its instructors to train individuals for careers in the fields of health, construction, welding and machining.


  • The Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership and Senator Sean Wiley’s office are working with many community partners to examine the feasibility of creating a Center for Arts and Technology in Erie. A local center, modeled after others in communities including Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Grand Rapids, and Cleveland, would provide youth arts education and adult career training.


These collaborative workforce initiatives are addressing the critical need for skilled employees through the development of purposeful education programs, a key Emerge 2040 recommendation.


  • The Erie Regional Transportation Authority (EMTA) launched transit service in Corry and Union City in November, providing residents a weekday bus route that enables them to travel to work, school, shopping and health centers. The EMTA is now working with partners in the West County, the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership, and Emerge 2040 to explore the feasibility of expanded service in that area as well.


EMTA expansion in targeted areas supports the Emerge 2040 goal of a more robust transit network to enable economic growth and increase opportunity for Erie County residents.
  • Erie County joined the Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation (LEEDCo) in April of 2015, becoming the first county outside of Ohio to join this public-private effort to develop an off-shore wind industry in the region, capitalizing on the region’s manufacturing expertise and on the strong winds that blow across Lake Erie. LEEDCo is currently developing a six-turbine demonstration project in the waters near Cleveland and has secured several major research and development grants from the Department of Energy.


Through this initiative, Erie County is driving the region’s energy future by supporting local renewable energy projects, an opportunity for economic growth and environmental sustainability identified by residents in the planning process.


This work supports the Emerge 2040 goal to preserve and enhance our region’s unique historic assets and to leverage them for economic growth.
  • Erie County, with the support of dozens of organizations and municipalities, submitted its plan to start the designation process to create a National Marine Sanctuary in the Lake Erie waters off Erie County. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is reviewing the application, which is the first step in a multi-year process. If approved, the sanctuary will boost tourism and create educational opportunities while preserving commercial and recreational maritime activity.
A Marine Sanctuary would support the Emerge 2040 goal of protecting Lake Erie’s natural resources and elevating its international profile.


  • The Jefferson Alliance for Community Progress, an initiative of the Jefferson Educational Society, graduated 27 professionals from its Erie County Civic Leadership Program. Participants working in the public, private, and non-profit sectors from all over Erie County and beyond engaged in a seven-month intensive curriculum on municipal issues. The Jefferson Dinner Series brought together hundreds of municipal officials, employees and volunteers in a series of events designed to foster communication about the shared challenges facing our municipalities.
These initiatives cultivate civic involvement and support collaboration among municipalities, two important Emerge 2040 goals.
  • The Community Resiliency Workgroup (CRW), in partnership with VisitErie, held its third annual summit, entitled “The Future of Erie’s Tourism in a Changing World” in October. With a focus on climate impacts on tourism in Erie, the event included a panel discussion among representatives from VisitErie, Save Our Native Species (S.O.N.S), the US Environmental Protection Agency, and PA Department of Environmental Protection. More information about the event is available on the CRW’s website.


Through collaboration, the CRW is increasing our understanding of the local economic and environmental  impacts of climate change. 

With the support and involvement of Emerge 2040, partnerships are strengthening in areas such as entrepreneurship, housing repair and code enforcement, energy efficiency, and local food access, while several neighborhood organizations and Erie County municipalities are developing their own community-led plans. We will share news on these fronts in 2016.
We applaud these efforts and the many others that are contributing to a thriving, educated, green, livable and connected Erie County region. More information about Emerge 2040, including the entire plan, supporting studies and other resources, are available at emerge2040.org.
We Want to Hear From You!
How are you helping to build a more resilient Erie County? In 2015 we met with dozens of organizations to discuss the ways in which the Emerge 2040 framework can be used to support and advance their work. Please contact us if you are interested in a presentation or a discussion. 
We would also like to share the ways in which your organization is moving Erie County forward toward the Emerge 2040 goals. Please contact us to tell us what you’re working on! 
Erie County is finding creative and collaborative ways to build an exciting future for our community. We look forward to sharing more great examples of the region’s progress throughout the upcoming year!
Emerge 2040  |   emerge2040.org 
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