External Support Programs
In addition to OEA and the federal government, there are a number of associations, think tanks, and advocacy organizations that can assist communities. Below are organizations with whom OEA has worked previously and that are good resources for communities to consider.
U.S. Conference of Mayors
The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are 1,201 such cities in the country today. Each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor. The primary roles of the U.S. Conference of Mayors are to promote the development of effective national urban/suburban policy; strengthen federal-city relationships; ensure that federal policy meets urban needs; provide mayors with leadership and management tools; and create a forum in which mayors can share ideas and information.
How OEA Can Help
OEA provides the resources to help communities help themselves respond to:
Economic Adjustment Committee (EAC)
Through its involvement in the Economic Adjustment Committee (EAC), OEA also serves as a focal point for transition assistance from other relevant federal programs. The EAC is composed of 22 federal departments and agencies that work together to coordinate and leverage technical and financial assistance to help communities, businesses, and/or workers respond to DoD-driven impacts. This allows communities access to a full complement of federal government resources.
In addition to coordinating federal resources to local communities, OEA also works directly with states through its State Planning Assistance program to enhance state capacity to assist communities, businesses, and workers adversely affected by Defense program changes.
Keys to Success
Regardless of what initiated OEA support (BRAC, growth, Defense Industry Adjustment, compatible use), OEA staff, through years of working with communities, have identified the following keys to success:
A single representative organization is paramount. Bring the stakeholders together throughout the process, from the conceptual visioning stage through short- and long-term planning, job creation, and economic stabilization.
Diverse & Committed Leadership
Public and private sector leaders must work together to provide continuing priority support to adjustment efforts.
These situations enable a community to make significant changes. This challenge requires a strategy that broadly addresses change and encompasses community needs.
Stakeholder acceptance of plans helps avoid the contentious issues that may delay action.
Follow through on the recommendations developed by community leaders after consensus is reached.
Every community has opportunities. The trick is to use sound business analysis to find those that have the most potential.
Positive change cannot occur overnight. Regardless of the type of community transformation, it can take years to fully realize plans.
Leverage the guidance, technical assistance, and financial resources available through OEA and all levels of government to help plan and implement strategies.