In the United States, economic competitiveness is crucially important. It measures global success and corresponding rising living standards across the nation. However, no metrics in this index connect urban and rural populations with measurable outcomes.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that, during the period 2010–2020, employment in science and engineering occupations will grow by 18.7%. However, with the US near full employment of 4.1% in 2017, pockets of minority unemployment rate remained well above average. This trend is both systemic and concentrated in certain regions.

In order to propel change, investment needs to be made into creating entrepreneurial talent in areas of growth that can compete and go beyond the pipeline of job seekers to become job creators.

To help inspire this transition, Temple University has launched the nation’s first Center for Inclusive Competitiveness (CIC) to improve the performance of underrepresented Americans in local, national and global innovation economies.  

The CIC seeks to leverage Temple’s engineering and STEM institutions to place these students on the pathway to success in the workforce and in entrepreneurial careers – with a particular focus on urban health, economic vitality and environmental sustainability.

The CIC is also leading the creation a national network of institutions to champion community transformation and social, economic, health and wealth equity through student development and retention and faculty and institutional assets. This network will work to formulate an Inclusive Economic Competitiveness Index to measure the impact of STEM-related economic policy on these communities. The strategic focus will be to use this evidence to benchmark the research indices and identify gaps and opportunities for creating programs and connections between diverse students, teachers and leaders.

The CIC will make a difference through its role in operationalizing a framework for improving key institutional and community STEM outcomes. Partners include nationally recognized policy and development expert Mike Green of ScaleUp Partners, serving as the CIC's Senior Strategic Advisor, and Forward Cities, Inc., a key research partner across a network of 33 cities. Together we are helping to identify and curate data related to aspirational job creation and economic inclusion among minority groups.