When Hurricane Ike hit Harris County, Texas, in 2008, the damage was substantial. The second costliest hurricane in America’s history destroyed a vast stretch of housing in the area, leaving thousands of people homeless and devastating local infrastructure. This created a host of challenges for public officials, not least of which was restoring access to water and electricity and rebuilding homes. Using funding from a Community Development Block Grant and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Harris County began its recovery process. Unfortunately, the county quickly encountered difficulties with contractors regarding code review and safety standards.
When their son Michael passed away, Avi and Julie Israel of Buffalo, N.Y., were distraught. Michael had suffered from an addiction to painkillers and in the depths of misery, had taken his own life. Knowing they weren’t alone in grappling with this issue and compelled to respond, the Israels decided to act. They established an organization called Save the Michaels of the World to increase public awareness, especially among parents.
Like many observers, Comcast and Walmart leaders were stunned by the news of the water crisis in Flint, Mich. Two years ago, the city switched its water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River and the new source was highly corrosive and wasn’t properly treated to prevent dangerously high levels of lead from seeping into the water supply. A neurotoxin with hazardous effects on the brain and the body, lead is particularly harmful to children.
In an increasingly complex global economy, few issues are more critical to states and the private sector than workforce development. To facilitate discussion on workforce needs and strategies, CSG has planned a special policy round table event as part of the 2015 CSG National Conference in Nashville, Tenn. The session, "State Pathways to Prosperity—Workforce and Economic Development Round Table," will convene at the Mars Petcare Global Innovation Center in Thompson's Station on the morning of Friday, Dec. 11.