RhodeMap RI is just one step down road to state progress

Guest Column:
Olon Reeder
Rhode Island state government is taking a proactive approach, giving every citizen the opportunity to shape our state’s special quality of life by becoming involved in RhodeMap RI. This strategy plan, focused on growing where we live, work, play and travel, will determine a state vision for the next decade and beyond. More

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OP-ED / LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

RhodeMap RI is just one step down road to state progress

Guest Column:
Olon Reeder
Posted 10/21/13

Rhode Island state government is taking a proactive approach, giving every citizen the opportunity to shape our state’s special quality of life by becoming involved in RhodeMap RI. This strategy plan, focused on growing where we live, work, play and travel, will determine a state vision for the next decade and beyond.

Already, RhodeMap RI is concentrating on developing broad-based agendas addressing specific areas, including land use, housing, infrastructure and local community zoning, tied to what we must have to attract new business, keep jobs and grow existing industries. These sectors include: agriculture, arts and culture, financial services, life sciences, manufacturing, technology, transportation and travel and tourism.

However, I strongly feel there are some critical areas in which RhodeMap RI must challenge that thinking in order to make our state and communities vibrant for economic development. Emphasizing education, empowerment, enlightenment and entrepreneurship, the state is more likely to remain relevant to the business community for at least the next decade by taking the following steps:

• Grow Rhode Island’s freelance workforce. According to the federal government, 73,000 Rhode Island residents (myself included) work for themselves, representing every profession and trade. Because of the lasting impacts of the Great Recession, with less need for traditional employees, and with effects of Obamacare influencing future hiring, more people must work the freelance route out of necessity. We need to put resources into making Rhode Island a national model for developing freelance opportunities.

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