Week 4: May 4 – May 8

Your Plan Could Have Double Impact Come Fall

May 4, 2020

As we start this week, many states and communities are beginning to return to work safely and under restrictions of one kind or another. We are not returning to an old normal and we are unclear as to what the new normal will be.

We are accustomed to returning to work from vacation, economic dislocations, or maybe personal health dislocations. None of us have returned from a world wide pandemic of which there remains uncertainty as to when other states and regions can return to work.

For those returning to the education, workforce or economic development arena we recall vaguely memories of a 3.0%-plus unemployment rate and a talent shortage. We now have the most dramatic shift from employment to unemployment in our nation’s history.

If you are following this series of newsletters you may recall the story of the person who, following an earthquake, watches the ocean leave a vast beach and knows the water will return as a tsunami. Hopefully you began planning a few weeks ago for the tsunami of government assistance. If not, it is of the essence to plan now.

It’s never too late to start planning. Whatever we face the rest of this week will be with us for many months. There is a good likelihood we will repeat this recent closure in late fall. That means we could face a new closure while still dealing with the current closure.

Leading, planning, actions and steps will move you closer to the solution for many businesses and people who need your help. Leadership is a magnet that attracts people to you, and instills trust and confidence in the actions you are undertaking.

Thinking is important, analyzing is necessary, and action is critical because it moves you toward solutions.

Thomas P. Miller & Associates

The Pandemic is Creating Opportunities

May 5, 2020

Real estate experts are weighing in on where uses may be heading in a post-COVID world. With personal safety as the No. 1 influencer, let’s tackle them one at a time.

Office: Dense packing office workers may be a thing of the past. People and workspaces will be spread apart.

Retail strip center vacancy may be repurposed as offices. Businesses may want new layouts and their own entrances just like in a commercial strip center. Will suburbia return?

Residential: Multi-family is moving slowly, and the long-term psychological effects of the pandemic may slow the development of senior-only facilities, even as boomers gray.

Student housing that packs four or more into small apartments may take on more home-like features, such as individual exterior entries for units.

Retail: Physical retail has been ailing for a long time, and many retail types for general merchandise may be gone forever. E-commerce, the king during the pandemic, will continue strong and create more vacancies in an oversupplied market. Retail centers will need to creatively repurpose vacant space into an office and/or residential because physical retail is not coming back.

Industrial: Two key drivers in industrial have picked up velocity. More households have gotten comfortable with e-commerce because it is the only way to purchase most items during the pandemic. Last-mile distribution centers will expand.

Also, the global supply chain has been dramatically impacted. Resiliency-minded manufacturers may accelerate the reshoring of inputs and final products back to the United States.

Begin working with your development partners now to find new uses for retail spaces and determine opportunities for your community.

Matt Rueff
Director, Economic Development & Resiliency
Thomas P. Miller & Associates

Tech, Reshoring are Opening Opportunities of a Lifetime

May 6, 2020

For workers who have been displaced or want to improve, now is the time to take advantage of the interruption called COVID-19.

The vast transformation of work of the past several years is accelerating. Boomers will continue retiring and jobs will require new skills. O*Net estimates manufacturing will create 900,000 jobs by 2025 as technology makes decisions without humans, an era commonly called the fourth industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0.

Technology and reshoring will create well-paying jobs, but all of the jobs will require new skills and constant learning.

The true ratio of jobs in our economy is 1:2:7. For every occupation requiring a master’s degree or more, two professional jobs require a university degree, and more than a half-dozen jobs require a one-year certificate or two-year degree; these technicians are in very high-skilled areas that are in demand.*

The ratio, which has been consistent across all industries since the 1950s, is expected to continue into the near future and possibly longer. Without higher-skilled technicians entering our workplaces, entire regions could lose out on manufacturing opportunities due to an inadequate workforce.

*(Gray, and Kerr. 2006 Other Ways to Win: Creating Alternatives for High School Graduates. Third Edition.)

Steve Catt
Senior Director
Thomas P. Miller & Associates

Coronavirus is Accelerating Some Trends, Birthing Others

May 7, 2020

From time to time ReWire will feature insight about the COVID-19 pandemic from experts outside of Thomas P. Miller & Associates. Vice President for Economic Development & Community Resiliency Mike Higbee spoke recently with Steven Long, president and CEO of Hancock Health, a hospital near Indianapolis. Their conversation is below.

What will be the most significant changes in healthcare resulting from the pandemic?
I believe COVID-19 will be a permanent part of the environment and will drive the additional need for ICU-level beds and units. American healthcare providers have been minimizing inpatient care for quite some time, so this will alter that course.

Skilled nursing facilities will find it difficult to recruit and retain staff to work in facilities that will now remain perpetually high-risk for COVID-19.

We will see the manufacturing of commodity medical supplies shift away from China. Relocating to the U.S. and other locations will lead to higher costs, however.

Also, the adoption of virtual medicine platforms has received just the boost it needed from the pandemic. Adoption has been very slow due to provider and consumer reluctance to engage and prior reluctance to reimburse for those services.

And we will see increasing investment in public health and more alignment between public and county health departments.

Do you see new health care job opportunities growing out of the pandemic?
Compensation for staff in long-term care environments will increase rapidly to offset the risk associated with those jobs and may draw new individuals into those fields as well as different processes of care. There also will be a renewed interest in public health and epidemiology careers.

What role will technology play in improving health care availability?
Virtual medicine and mobile app-based healthcare will grow dramatically.

What is the biggest lesson you have learned during the pandemic?
A vibrant organizational culture (like we have at Hancock Health) allows for success in good times and provides opportunities to excel in hard times. Poor organizational culture in good times leads to failure during a pandemic.

Mike Higbee
Vice President, Economic Development & Community Resiliency
Thomas P. Miller & Associates

Steven Long
President & CEO
Hancock Health

Keep Mental Health Tops During the Crisis

May 8, 2020

As another work week ends amid COVID-19, what are your plans for the weekend? Many of us look for ways to escape media reports, just for a while.

More than a month ago, many of us started spending our weekends at home watching Netflix, Vudu, or Disney+, and trying to figure out where to buy toilet paper and sanitizer. According to The Washington Post, Netflix subscriptions have doubled during the pandemic. And if staying in touch is at the top of your needs, you are likely one of the 200 million daily users of Zoom.

Maybe your weekends “flattening the curve” include fishing, biking, home improvements or imbibing at home; there are numerous articles concerning the increase of each during the pandemic. Raise your hand if yoga, meditation, or church streaming is part of your weekend.

It’s important for our mental health to not only be mindful of what we presently enjoy each weekend but to have a vision for future weekends. With states starting to re-open businesses and loosen stay-at-home restrictions, you might be planning to participate in weekend activities where more people gather; this weekend is Mother’s Day (in case you forgot, you’re welcome).

So, what are your plans for the weekend?

Vicki Thompson
Youngstown Manager
Thomas P. Miller & Associates

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