Jamestown Prime Example Of Intersector In Job Creation

I was recently part of an interesting discussion about the role of government in job creation; one view holds that government should actually fund and create jobs, while the other argues that government should instead create an environment encouraging job creation in other sectors. That may sound like a narrow distinction in language, but it spans the Senate floor. The two options aren’t mutually exclusive, of course, but determining the right balance of direct and indirect job creation is one of the government’s most important and controversial responsibilities.

My own response to that discussion was to suggest another tactic altogether: collaboration across sectors, or intersector collaboration. In the process of resolving specific problems like environmental conservation and infrastructure, the projects also indirectly address the broader problem of unemployment. It shouldn’t be surprising that successful collaborations across public, business, and non-profit sectors have the indirect, though significant benefit of job creation. In addition to the work of the collaboration, which may entail hiring permanent staff to coordinate internal partnership activities, intersector projects frequently give rise to long-term, large-scale initiatives, which result in all sorts of job opportunities.

All of which is to say: the city of Jamestown is a big part of my thinking on this matter. As readers of this paper will know, Mayor Stan Lundine worked across sectors to repair the city’s labor relations; by recognizing how important employment was, both financially and for the city’s reputation and morale, Mayor Lundine brokered relationships between businesses, unions, and his own office to both improve existing relations and attract new industry. The resulting jobs and drop in unemployment benefited all of the collaborations stakeholders, not least those employed as a consequence.

Returning to the discussion that got me thinking about the role of the intersector in job creation, it is clear to me that government should be creating jobs and an environment supportive of job creation. Both initiatives naturally and sensibly benefit from the space of the intersector. And while many jobs may be the unintentional byproducts of collaborations targeted at other problems, recognizing and encouraging this aspect of the intersector only improves the promising future of working together.

Frank Weil is chairman of the The Interceptor Project in New York City. The Intersector Project is a research organization dedicated to profiling and promoting instances of collaboration across sectors – when public, private, and non-profit stakeholders work together to solve problems that no one sector could address on its own.