Team NEO’s ED NOW Event Focuses on Driving Equitable Economic Growth in Northeast Ohio

Data insights from the Vibrant Economy Index generates discussion on intersection of talent, sites and affordable housing to drive growth

Today at its sixth annual ED NOW event, Team NEO engaged more than 200 economic development professionals, elected officials, business, and community leaders in discussion about what enables vibrant economic growth and the intersection of community development and economic development.

“Economic development is the ultimate team sport,” said Bill Koehler, Team NEO chief executive officer. “By bringing together these leaders in government and business, we are activating the entire network towards a common goal: building a vibrant economy that creates equitable and sustainable growth and prosperity.”

The event featured opening remarks from J.P. Nauseef, President & CEO of JobsOhio, panelists including Honorable Gail K. Pavliga, Ohio House of Representatives, District 72; and Honorable Kent Smith, State Senator, District 21; and keynote speaker Tania Menesse, president and chief executive officer of Cleveland Neighborhood Progress.

This annual event is a program of the Ohio Economic Development Association and aimed to spark tangible, collaborative action to address critical economic priorities in Northeast Ohio. Discussions focused on two key areas: expanding access to affordable housing and increasing the availability of diverse talent for in-demand jobs. Developing readily available sites for business attraction and job creation in key locations that connect talent to jobs and affordable housing was highlighted as one strategy to make progress.

To help guide collaborative efforts, Team NEO tracks vibrant economic growth in the Northeast Ohio Region and 12 peer markets across the United States through its proprietary Vibrant Economy Index (VEI), which contains more than 600 data points. The VEI includes insights into access to affordable housing and the availability of diverse talent for in-demand jobs, both of which were topics of discussion at the ED Now event. Breakout sessions explored tools, strategies and policies that support investment in these areas.  

Jacob Duritsky, Team NEO’s Vice President of Strategy, Research, and Talent, shared current insights from the latest VEI Report on competitiveness and prosperity, released in conjunction with the ED Now event. “This report focuses on long-term outcomes – like gross regional product, employment, and wages – which are driven by investments in the economic enablers of talent, innovation, equity, and resilience,” Duritsky noted. “It demonstrates areas of strength – like continued growth in wages and regional GDP – and the need for increased investment in key strategies, like closing the gap in educational attainment for people of color.”

Highlights of the report include:

  • By 2030, GDP is projected to grow almost 15%; due in part to advances in technology with productivity also projected to grow 15%
  • For GDP, all Northeast Ohio industries are projected to grow by 16% from 2018-2030, on par with the U.S.
  • Employment in some sectors, including information, professional, scientific, and technology, is projected to grow faster than the availability of talent, creating an opportunity for the regional economic development network to continue to invest in targeted strategies to close the talent demand/supply gap.

The dialogue and data-driven insights from ED Now will help leaders build on Northeast Ohio’s economic strengths while making further investments in talent, innovation, equity and resilience. Team NEO invites local businesses, economic developers, and civic leaders to join in these collaborative efforts:

  • Schedule a 30-minute VEI Lunch & Learn with Team NEO’s research team
  • Visit to sign up for VEI updates, and,

Submit existing strategies, initiatives, and programs to Team NEO as a VEI case study for publication in future reports.

About Team NEO

Team NEO is a private, nonprofit economic development organization accelerating business growth and job creation throughout the 18 counties of the Northeast Ohio Region. As the designated JobsOhio Network Partner, we align and amplify local economic development efforts in the region’s 18-counties; we conduct research and data analysis to inform local conversations and influence solutions; we market the Northeast Ohio Region; and we work to increase access to jobs, education and training for the region’s 4.3 million people. We do this to build a more vibrant regional economy; one that is more talented, equitable, competitive, innovative, resilient, and prosperous. For more information, visit

About JobsOhio

JobsOhio is a private nonprofit economic development corporation designed to drive job creation and new capital investment in Ohio through business attraction, retention and expansion. The organization also works to seed talent production in its targeted industries and to attract talent to Ohio through Find Your Ohio. JobsOhio works with six regional partners across Ohio: Dayton Development Coalition, Ohio Southeast Economic Development, One Columbus, REDI Cincinnati, Regional Growth Partnership and Team NEO. Learn more at Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.