The following section begins with a description of the SC2 pilot kickoff and the work plan development process. The narrative then describes how the Chester SC2 team and the city worked together, and finally it summarizes key SC2 team activities during the first 18 months of implementation.
The SC2 team lead encouraged team members to cultivate relationships with community organizations and seek out opportunities to contribute to local needs. This hands-on approach evolved as team members better understood the limits of city staff’s ability to dedicate resources to the pilot. The Chester SC2 team worked primarily with five local pa
The city’s economic development director was the pilot point of contact between September 2011 and July 2012. When he transitioned out of his role at the Chester Economic Development Authority into a different city position, Chester’s mayor became the primary point of contact for the remainder of the pilot.
Beyond the mayor, team members int
The SC2 team assigned to Chester comprised 12 federal representatives from 10 agencies. The Chester team members were either already regionally based in the Philadelphia area, 15 miles from Chester, or they worked remotely from Washington, DC. No federal staff members were relocated to Chester and embedded locally, and all members were part-time.
Chester is a small city of 34,000 residents located 15 miles south of Philadelphia on the banks of the Delaware River. Once a major manufacturing center, Chester has experienced long-term economic decline beginning in the 1950s. It lost over half of its population between 1950 and 2010. Today the city has high vacancy rates, crime, and poverty, an
Implementation of the SC2 pilot initiative in Chester began in September 2011, after an initial planning and assessment period earlier in the year. The team began with a goal of supporting Chester in addressing eight economic development priorities identified during the assessment phase. These priorities included reducing crime and vacancy, reform
This appendix includes case studies for each of the six SC2 pilot cities. These case studies provide detailed insight into the economic challenges of each city, as well as insight into the opportunities and goals for each engagement and the implementation in each pilot city. The case studies are valuable for documenting the variety of contexts in
The SC2 pilot represents a new and promising approach to helping cities address economic development challenges and opportunities. It uses targeted technical assistance and collaboration between federal agencies to advance city priorities.
As a unique federal pilot, the SC2 initiative can offer valuable lessons for existing or future federal programs or activities, especially for federal providers of technical assistance to localities and for federal staff based in regional offices. During data collection, the research team asked team members which components of the approach might b
Monitor the match between city priorities and team member skills throughout implementation. Matching team members to city needs is complicated and best treated as an ongoing activity rather than a one-time event. Beginning the process early, during the work planning phase, and making it iterative with the process of staffing the team could ensur
Ensure cities have sufficient plans in place to justify the investment of federal resources . Having mayoral buy-in and the support of city leaders is critical to the engagement, but it may not be enough to make effective use of the SC2 team’s resources. The most successful pilot cities not only had strong city leadership to promote the engagem
Clearly defining the SC2 approach . At the outset of the SC2 pilot, it was difficult for team members to clearly articulate what this new model was to be. As a result, there was considerable confusion among city stakeholders, team members and their supervisors, and agency leadership about the roles that team members would play, what could be expe
As a pilot initiative, the SC2 approach is by definition a work in progress. We asked city and federal stakeholders to suggest for the SC2 Council areas where further exploration that could impact the value and effectiveness of city and federal investments. Suggestions fell into three categories: overall program design, the city selection and asse
While the pilot assessment process was not part of the evaluation, a few stakeholders discussed some of the challenges they experienced related to it. We have included challenges that were identified by more than one person.
There was a lack of dedicated funding for the pilot. Federal agencies’ most common critique of the pilot was the fact that there was no dedicated funding for the engagement. This lack of funding meant that participating agencies had to reallocate existing resources to cover staff time and travel budgets. Many agencies struggled to decide which
As discussed elsewhere in this report, cities experienced challenges with the pilot related to some team members’ skills not aligning well with city priority areas and the inability of some federal staff to move beyond a monitoring role with the city. In our discussions with city and federal stakeholders, two additional challenges were observed
Federal agencies could target their efforts to cities’ needs . Just as the pilot cities saw the SC2 approach as a more direct and productive connection to the federal government, federal agencies regarded the SC2 approach as a more direct means of understanding local needs and targeting efforts to address them. This was particularly true for ag