Benchmarking Study Points to Charlotte Region’s Global Assets, Challenges

A benchmarking analysis conducted by the Metropolitan Policy Program of the Brookings Institution finds the greater Charlotte region has significant assets on which it can further build its global competitiveness. At the same time, the Charlotte region trails other metropolitan areas in some key economic development characteristics which could impact growth.

CharlotteRegionalCollaborativeLogoThe Brookings Institution conducted the study for the Charlotte Regional Collaborative for a Global Economy, a consortium of the 15 community colleges representing 29 counties serving the greater Charlotte region. JPMorgan Chase supported the in-depth analysis, which was presented today at the Global Competitiveness Summit V, hosted by Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) and the Charlotte region’s Global Vision Leaders Group.

The study, titled: “Greater Charlotte in the Global Economy – Benchmarking the Region’s Global Competitiveness Assets,” looked at the greater Charlotte region’s competitive position through four factors—trade and investment, innovation, talent and infrastructure—compared to 19 other city-regions in the U.S. and abroad that most closely resemble the Charlotte region’s size, wealth, productivity, industrial structure and competitiveness factors.

“Today’s city and regional leaders can either seize the opportunities afforded by the global dynamics or risk falling victim to the downsides of globalization,” explained Joseph Parilla, senior research associate, Metropolitan Policy Program of the Brookings Institution. “In its efforts, the greater Charlotte region has significant assets on which to build: globally engaged companies in key advanced industries, a highly-educated workforce and an internationally-connected airport.”

“But that same global perspective yields other areas that warrant improvement: upgrading the Charlotte region’s system for innovation and entrepreneurship, addressing employer difficulties in finding STEM workers, bridging disparities in broadband access and ensuring the fruits of growth are shared broadly,” Parilla said. “By taking purposeful action now, Charlotte’s public, private and civic institutions can enhance and sustain the region’s global competitiveness for generations to come.”

The Brookings analysis and report<> characterizes the greater Charlotte region’s current competitive position as follows.

Economic performance: Overall economic growth has been robust over the past decade, but on the metrics of inclusion, the greater Charlotte region has lagged.

Trade and Investment: The greater Charlotte region is globally-oriented. Exports and foreign-direct investment account for a disproportionate share of the regional economy, led by tradable anchors like machinery, transportation equipment and financial services.

However, the region is at risk of losing ground to other peer metropolitan economies unless it further develops a number of key competitive drivers:

*   Innovation: Build up low levels of research and development, technology commercialization and venture capital investment in the region;
*   Talent: Help employers overcome challenges in filling job vacancies, especially occupations that require STEM skills; and
*   Infrastructure: Address lagging broadband speeds and disparities in broadband access by income.

The 19 comparison regions used in the Brookings analysis included Austin, Atlanta, Indianapolis and Denver in the U.S. and Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Montreal, Munich and Stockholm outside the U.S. The complete Brookings report can be found at<>.

About CPCC

Central Piedmont Community College is one of the largest community colleges in the Carolinas, offering nearly 300 degree, diploma and certification programs; customized corporate training; market-focused continuing education; and special interest classes. CPCC is academically, financially and geographically accessible to all citizens of Mecklenburg County. CPCC responds to the workforce and technology needs of local employers and job seekers through innovative educational and training strategies. Established in 1963, CPCC has provided more than 50 years of service to Mecklenburg County residents, business and industry. For more information, see<>. Connect with the college on social media at<>.

About the Charlotte Regional Collaborative for a Global Economy

The Charlotte Regional Collaborative for a Global Economy is a consortium of the 15 community colleges serving the greater Charlotte region. The collaborative was established in the spring of 2015 by the presidents of its member institutions. Collaborative member colleges<> provide higher education, workforce development and vocational skills training in 29 counties in two states (17 counties in North Carolina, 12 in South Carolina), serving more than 3.5 million people in an integrated and interdependent region that is the economic heartbeat of the Carolinas. See<> more information.

About the Brookings Institution

The Brookings Institution is a private non-profit organization. Its mission is to conduct high-quality, independent research and, based on that research, to provide innovative, practical recommendations for policymakers and the public. Brookings recognizes that the value it provides is in its absolute commitment to quality, independence and impact. For more information, visit<>.