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Micropolitan areas of the United States, cities with populations between 10,000 and 50,000 people, have received little attention from either the research or policy communities regarding their roles in the U.S. economy. Only recently has attention turned toward small-town America in order to try to characterize and understand the roles micropolitan areas play in productivity, growth, employment and, more broadly, in the innovation system of the nation. Likewise, little research has been undertaken to gain a better understanding of which policy instruments and frameworks can best support economic development and workforce readiness in micropolitan areas.

To explore this topic, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine held a one-day workshop in Indianapolis in April 2018 on “Advancing Economic Development and Workforce Readiness in Micropolitan Areas” in coordination with the Indiana University Public Policy Institute’s “Thriving Communities, Thriving State” program. This event sought to connect theory to practice by bringing together policy makers, individuals from industry, and researchers across several disciplines to discuss lessons from current research and on-the-ground experience, explore how this knowledge may be utilized to shape policies to effectively support economic development and workforce readiness, and ultimately lay the groundwork for creating a research and knowledge agenda for future work. This publication summarizes the presentations and discussions from the workshop.

Suggested Citation

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Advancing Economic Development and Workforce Readiness in Micropolitan Areas: Proceedings of a Workshop–in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

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7 pages | 8.5 x 11 |  DOI:

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