The Council agreed at its first meeting to focus on measures that would return the state to pre-recession employment levels within 10 years.
The council met six times in day long sessions, one each month from June through November 2013 and at a seventh, half-day session in December. Most sessions were conducted as an informal workshop setting in which the council interacted with subject matter experts and interested persons from throughout the state. Those topics were as follows.
Session 1, Coherence:
What process should be used to understand and define the scale and nature of the problem?
Session 2, Predicament:
How many economic base jobs are needed to reach pre-recession employment levels 10 years from now?
Session 3, Economic Sectors:
How many jobs can be created in each economic base sector 10 years from now?
Session 4, Geographic Distribution
In what regions of the state will those jobs be created?
Session 5, Factors of Production Gaps:
What are the major impediments to creating those jobs?
Session 6, Programs and Policies:
What measures could lawmakers take to remove those impediments and otherwise spur job creation?
The council used a consensus approach for diagnosing the state’s jobs predicament and sorting strategic near term options. The consensus approach relied on the education, intuition, tacit knowledge and common sense of participants to ascertain key information.
Following the 2013 sessions, the Council sought to refine the original findings through a deeper level assessment at the Council of Government and County level. A process was initiated in 2014 by Council contract facilitators to conduct a series of county level job creation assessment workshops consistent with the process completed by the Council in 2013.
Each of the 7 COGs were invited to lead the process for the counties in their respective districts. The process consisted of a series of full to half-day sessions facilitated by a combination of IJC contract facilitators, COG leaders, and others familiar with the process.