Joe Roman, President and CEP of GCP, was in studio with WTAM’s Bill Wills last week. Roman spoke about Cleveland Rising, a multi-day summit being held in Cleveland to elicit ways to invigorate the local economy and reduce poverty. We know that innovation is the key to a growing economy, Roman said. Along with the partnership of many companies and organizations, the GCP is launching a major study to find out how we can improve our region’s ability to create jobs through innovation. Through research, we have learned that our local taxes are higher than our peers and growing faster—and we have to address that, said Roman. We need people all around our region to be part of that discussion to address these issues. Cleveland Rising is hoping to get people’s input to adjust recommendations and strategies according to what people in the region are supportive of.
GCP recently held a Morning Conversation with Shay Hawkins who heads up Opportunity Fund Association. Roman said GCP is engaged at the highest level with the federal folks about how to make Opportunity Zones an advantageous tool for our area. While it’s great that so many areas like Detroit Shoreway and University Circle are growing, we need some of the other areas like Fairfax and Hough to do the same. Hawkins was there to help educate practitioners around Opportunity Zones and to help make sure it’s as valuable of a tool as possible.
They also discussed MEWA—the COSE multi employer welfare arrangement—and Roman explained that MEWA is an opportunity for small companies to join and get involved with GCP, but to also get access to a very competitive health care program. The value of our program for a Cleveland company is that when they invest with us they are not only getting a great product but also investing in the community, Roman said.