This article was originally published on Metro.us.

BY ROB WONDERLING

The Keystone State’s population declined in 2016 for the first time in 31 years.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, for the first time in 31 years, Pennsylvania’s population declined in 2016 – dropping by more than 7,600 residents. In fact, Pennsylvania is one of only eight states to lose population over that 12-month period. In addition, Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate lags the national unemployment rate by the widest gap in more than three decades.

To address this malaise, Pennsylvania’s private and nonprofit sectors must take the lead in creating an economic agenda for growth – the Grow PA initiative will endeavor to do just that.

Grow PA seeks to convene people and organizations in key sectors of Pennsylvania’s economy to establish a modern economic growth agenda for the 21st century. Possible focal points include: modernizing all facets of our infrastructure, leveraging our energy assets, transforming postsecondary education and accelerating the development of innovation in healthcare technology and delivery. The goal is to develop a roadmap for economic growth for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that will influence the candidates’ platforms for the 2018 governor’s race and beyond.

Our vision is as follows: The Keystone State, located in the heart