Rob Wonderling, President and CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, wrote an op-ed about GPCC’s Roadmap for Growth campaign that appeared in Region’s Business. You can read the text below:
Navigating the Path to Philadelphia’s Future
By Rob Wonderling
Next year, Philadelphia will hold elections for a new Mayor and City Council. The stakes are high. Philadelphia is truly becoming a world-class City. With its extraordinary arts and culture, growing entrepreneurial community and expanding energy and manufacturing enterprises, now is the time to seize upon a unique opportunity.
In an effort to ensure Philadelphia continues to transform into a thriving urban community, the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce has launched a campaign with public and private leaders to develop a shared agenda to accelerate economic growth and create opportunity and prosperity for all Philadelphians.
The campaign is called “Roadmap for Growth,” and we are encouraging everyone with a stake in our region’s future to become involved. Our goal is to find the best ideas to strengthen the economy and then encourage their implementation.
The campaign has four components: a fact-based economic and demographic analysis of Philadelphia; a series of “Listening Tour” meetings in conjunction with City Councilmembers and neighborhood leaders; three Issue Forums and a Mayoral Debate, all which will discuss issues affecting Philadelphia’s citizens and businesses; and ultimately a final report and working group to help implement the best strategies and ideas that emerge during the campaign.
We completed a fact-based economic and demographic analysis of Philadelphia by studying statistics related to the City’s population, employment, household incomes and enterprise creation. The results of this study are mixed.
Pros and cons
While Philadelphia’s population is slowly growing, it is becoming more diverse after decades of population loss. Many of the City’s new residents are millennials, baby boomers and immigrants.
Employment has only grown in a handful of industry sectors—education and health services as well as leisure and hospitality. While “Eds and Meds” employ nearly one-third of all employees in Philadelphia, this sector tends to gro