Cincinnati cited as a model for inclusive economic growth

Brookings Institution highlights cities rewiring systems to rebuild local economies

Cincinnati was one of five American cities the Brookings Institution cited as examples as to how communities can “rewire” economic systems and generate inclusive growth.

In a study, “Institutionalizing inclusive growth: Rewiring systems to rebuild local economies,” Brookings profiled efforts in Cincinnati; Akron, Ohio; Birmingham, Alabama; St. Paul, Minnesota; and Syracuse, New York; to build inclusive local economies.

Among the efforts highlighted was the University of Cincinnati’s approach to catalyze innovation, upskill workers and grow good jobs.

A group of people sit in chairs.

Left to right, University of Cincinnati Chief Innovation Officer David J. Adams, Gov. Mike DeWine, Lightship Foundation Executive Director Candice Matthews Brackeen and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted were featured speakers in October 2021 as leaders of the Cincinnati Innovation District and JobsOhio announced the expansion of the CID. Photo/Gregory Glevicky, Cincinnati Innovation District

University of Cincinnati President Neville Pinto created a new innovation agenda as one of the university’s core pillars after he became the UC president. He hired David J. Adams to be UC’s chief innovation officer to oversee existing university functions such as technology transfer and research partnerships with industry and to launch new priorities like the Venture Lab and the 1819 Innovation Hub.

“Universities are in a unique position to bring together multiple constituents — not just students and faculty, but also alumni, the community, and leaders across industries — to solve challenges and seize opportunities in new and unexpected ways,” Pinto said. “Having a dedicated innovation hub enables us to do that; it’s a space where these collisions can occur.”

The success of the Cincinnati Innovation District has made it a model for Ohio, with the state replicating the efforts in other cities such as Cleveland and Columbus.

“Driven from the bottom up by local initiatives and propelled by public-private partnerships between jurisdictions and local universities, medical centers, industries, economic development organizations, neighborhoods, and more, strategies need to focus on the creation of clusters of talent and innovation districts that can drive sustainable growth,” Adams said.

Read more in Brookings.

Featured image at top: The Cincinnati skyline lit during the Blink event shown from the Covington, KY. Photo/Joseph Fuqua II