Denver Business and Community Partnerships Summit Recap•
Inspiring Collaboration in Denver
At Opportunity Nation, we are all about cross-sector collaboration. We believe the toughest challenges our communities face cannot be solved by a single program or one approach. It will take all of us – private, public and nonprofit sectors – to expand upward mobility for more Americans. That’s why we measure a range of indicators – economic, educational and civic – on the Opportunity Index. This unique tool provides a comprehensive snapshot of the conditions present in a community that constrict or expand opportunity. And it’s why we bring diverse partners together to share smart solutions from the worlds of business, community, philanthropic and government leadership.
Given this commitment, we were honored to participate this week in the U.S. Department of Commerce’s first Business and Community Partnerships Summit, held in Denver. Opportunity Nation was excited to engage in this important event that not only elevated what’s working, but brought together leaders from dozens of businesses and nonprofit groups alongside elected officials, representatives from higher education institutions and faith-based partners. Speakers included Congressman Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) and Jay Williams, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. There was a particular emphasis on skills, education and workforce training and how we can work together to get all of our youth and young adults on track and equipped for success in the 21st century economy.
It was great to share data from the Opportunity Index for Denver County (Opportunity Grade: C) and help frame the conversation. We were eager to learn from the partnerships being catalyzed in one of our nation’s most innovative regions. The event was hosted by the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, which is partnering with a range of groups to foster economic development and job growth. Leading the conversation were the Mile High United Way, the Office of Governor John Hickenlooper and the Office of Mayor Michael Hancock.
We learned about strategic community college partnerships with local businesses to create a skilled workforce, and how the location of a new Patent and Trademark Office in Denver aims to spark entrepreneurship and greater opportunity for people throughout the region.
This summit was just the first in a series the Commerce Department will be convening to emphasize the importance of cross-sector collaboration to tackle regional challenges. We commend all those who participated and look forward to bringing engaged leaders together in more communities soon.