The Opportunity Collaborative is a partnership in Baltimore that has come together to implement the region’s $3.5 million Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant.

On Monday, March 25th, 2013 at the University of Baltimore the Opportunity Collaborative was introduced to the greater Baltimore region.

The Collaborative is a partnership that has come together to implement the region’s $3.5 million Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant. It was an all-star event with Joshua Cohen Mayor of Annapolis and Ken Ulman the County Executive from Howard County opening the event and presentations by Shelley Poticha Director for Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities and Scot Spencer Associate Director at the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The keynote was given by Dr. Manuel Pastor, a University of Southern California professor, who laid out the equity opportunities that the _Opportunity Collaborative _work presents leaders in Baltimore. From the event there were three knowledge topics that would benefit the Living Cities community:

1) The Baltimore Broadband Plan . This is a 10-city consortium that has raised $96 million to pay for the distribution of 1100 miles of fiber optics that would allow for one of the fastest connectivity rates in the nation. In addition to providing fast connectivity the plan aims to use anchor institutions as technology hubs.

2) Equity is a platform for economic growth. Manuel Pastor reinforced, in many ways, the fact that equity is a platform for economic growth. He pointed to a Federal Reserve of Cleveland study tracking prosperity in 120 mid-sized regions where they found that reduced disparities was a key indicator of regional prosperity. This is a sample of the presentation.

3) Silos need to be broken. Scot Spencer from the Annie E. Casey Foundation highlighted the need to breakdown silos of workforce development & transformation. He pointed to the boom in support for the transportation work after residents saw the employment opportunities for themselves in this work.

We look forward to keeping you posted about this and the future work of our Integration Initiative cities!