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Taveras Releases Jobs Plan for Providence

Thursday, July 15, 2010

 

While most efforts at economic development has focused on bringing new business into the state, Democratic mayoral candidate Angel Taveras says Providence could achieve a lot by just focusing on keeping and expanding the businesses it already has.

In an interview with GoLocalProv yesterday, Taveras discussed his ideas for job creation that he will release in a formal plan today.

“There has been such an emphasis in the past on simply recruiting. I think my approach is recognizing the strengths,” Taveras said. “Think about the biggest announcements you have had over the last several years with respect to economic development, it usually is ‘Someone is coming here.’ Of course it’s part of what we’re doing but we need to focus more also on the assets that we have here.”  

Some of the strongest assets the city has, Taveras says, are its colleges, universities, and hospitals. He said those non-profit employers have consistently been adding new jobs over the past ten years—even while the rest of the state economy has been suffering. He believes those non-profit organizations are the key to economic recovery for Providence.

Taveras is building his plan around what he calls the three Rs—retaining businesses already here, recruiting new businesses and high-skilled workers, and regulatory reform.

He noted that one national study had ranked the Providence-Fall River urban corridor as one of the worst places to start a business. He said the city can change that by creating one office where owners can get all the permits, approvals, and licenses that they need to open shop.

Providence can draw more businesses here, he said, by spreading the word about its quality of life and proximity to big cities like Boston and New York City. “You can be in New York City or Boston before the battery runs out on your cell phone, so that’s important,” Taveras said.

Of course, Providence has endeavored in recent years to revamp its image, but more needs to be done, according to Taveras. “We need to market it better. We need to let it shine so that people know all the benefits that are here,” he said. “I want to make Providence the creative capital of the country. It’s not going to solve the economy but it will be an important part of retaining people in Rhode Island.”

He mentioned several additional ways his administration could keep and nurture businesses already here. He said the city has not used to its fullest extent a $10 million revolving loan fund managed by the Economic Development Partnership. He said the city also can’t afford to miss the opportunity for new development on the land opened up by moving Interstate 195 and has to expand businesses along the waterfront on Allens Avenue.

 

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