Smart economic development demands a decisive, visionary leader who enjoys a strong relationship with the state economic development team. Kasim Reed is that leader and has the record to prove it. Addressing the opportunity gap – the pervasive inequities that sideline too many Atlantans based on their race, their class, their zip code – will be a guiding principle for Kasim Reed’s Administration. Here are the core elements of Kasim’s economic development plan:
- Expand success obtained by Invest Atlanta and recruit more companies to Atlanta.
- Ensure that economic development incentives are transparent and accountable, so that we know our tax dollars are actually creating new jobs and affordable housing.
- Encourage Atlanta’s Fortune 500 companies to create good paying jobs for those without college degrees.
- Entrepreneurship to Enterprise: Grooming Atlanta’s most promising tech, product, and service start-ups and growing them into global powerhouses by using private sector mentorship and investment.
- Expand Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative (WEI), doubling the city’s investment.
- Create a youth coding academy, to train and place Atlantans in entry level software careers.
- Work with Atlanta’s public institutions of higher learning, including Georgia State, Georgia Tech, and Atlanta Metropolitan, as well as the AUC and Emory University to expand access to college and college classes for APS students.
- Partner with Atlanta labor unions to establish and expand apprenticeships/vocational training programs.
- Match 50,000 Atlantans with checking accounts, giving them access to banking services and expanding financial literacy.
During his eight years as Mayor, Invest Atlanta helped create more than 33,000 jobs through economic development and community revitalization programs. Seventeen major companies moved their regional headquarters to Atlanta or announced a headquarters expansion in the City, such as NCR, Porsche, Merchants e-Solutions, GE Digital and Global Payments. These major business relocations and expansions have created more than 10,000 new jobs. Invest Atlanta programs injected more than $5 billion into Atlanta’s economy, through direct and leveraged investments. At the same time we invest those public funds into economic development, we also need to ensure that they are being used to create the jobs and opportunity for which they were given. Recent stories about Fulton County’s development authority have highlighted the problems caused by inadequate transparency and accountability for public incentives – we can and must do better.