Birmingham and Brookings Institution aim to make city a national model for ‘inclusive innovative economy’

City of Birmingham, Brookings Institute and business leaders announce multi-year partnership. Photo by Pat Byington for Bhamn Now

Mayor Randall Woodfin was joined on Tuesday by officials with the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program and local civic and business leaders to announce a multi-year partnership with Brookings to help boost the economy in Birmingham.

Birmingham is one of a few cities selected nationally for a such a partnership by the prestigious national think tank.

Groundbreaking partnership

Left to right – Josh Carpenter, at the podium Mayor Randall Woodfin, Altec CEo Lee Styslinger and Brooking’s Amy Liu. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

At the press conference held at the Sloss Furnaces Visitor Center, Mayor Woodfin emphasized why working with the Brookings Institution is a groundbreaking partnership for Birmingham.

“As the economy continues to evolve, we want to be prepared to empower the next generation of builders,” said Woodfin. “So in order for us to do that, we need to reimagine the way we think about economic development in our community. It is not just about creating jobs. It is about creating quality jobs with access to benefits wealth building and career building opportunities.”

Woodfin added, “The Brookings team and the Brookings Institute is considered among the nation’s best thought leaders in urban economic development. We are fortunate to have their team in our corner as we think about the next steps as well as the next area of Birmingham’s economy.”

Nation model for inclusive innovative economy

Amy Liu, Brookings vice president and director of its Metropolitan Policy Program described to the leaders and press in attendance why Brooking Institute chose to work with Birmingham.

“Now Brookings gets many requests from cities to work with them,” stated Liu. “But, we decide. We choose to work in communities that are on the cusp of big change. We choose cities that have the capacity to execute. We choose cities that can inspire other cities. That is why we do it for me. We believe in this community.

She concluded, “We believe that this community can be a national model for inclusive innovative economy.”

Business community is all in

Josh Carpenter, director of Birmingham’s Department of Innovation and Economic Opportunity and Mayor Randall Woodfin. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Joining the partnership between the city of Birmingham and Brookings Institute will be a coalition of businesses and civic leaders, according to Lee Styslinger, CEO of Altec.

“It’s the perfect time to leverage the combined resources of the Brookings Institute, the mayor’s office and the corporate community, to all join forces, come together to work together on making Birmingham the best city in the country.”

Moving forward

All the speakers at the press conference agreed, the new partnership will bring national attention to Birmingham is a game changer.

We look forward to seeing this powerful partnership in action over the coming years.

Author: Pat Byington

Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.