FUSE Executive Fellow - Cleveland Economic Development
The City of Cleveland aims to boost economic and industrial development by transforming abandoned and blighted properties into commercially and socially active spaces and targeting business expansion and attraction. The City will partner with FUSE to revitalize these areas through equitable redevelopment focusing on job creation, environmental resilience, and community well-being. The FUSE Executive Fellow will develop strategies to help attract and grow businesses, enhance residential and commercial property values, support environmentally sustainable growth, and positively impact local neighborhoods and economies.
Fellowship Dates: April 22, 2024 – April 21, 2025
Salary: Executive Fellows are FUSE employees and receive an annual base salary of $80,000. Fellows can also access various health, dental, and vision insurance benefits. Compensation for this year of public service is not intended to represent market-rate compensation for the experienced professionals in our program.
ABOUT THE FUSE EXECUTIVE FELLOWSHIP
FUSE is a national nonprofit working to expand social and economic opportunities, particularly for communities that have been limited by a history of systemic and institutionalized racism. FUSE partners with local governments and communities to more effectively address pressing challenges by placing experienced professionals within city and county agencies. These FUSE Executive Fellows lead strategic projects designed to advance racial equity and accelerate systems change. Since 2012, FUSE has led over 250 projects in 40 governments across 20 states, impacting the lives of 25 million people.
When designing each fellowship project, FUSE works closely with government partners and local stakeholders to define a scope of work that will achieve substantive progress toward regional priorities. FUSE then conducts an individualized search for each project to ensure that the selected candidate has at least 15 years of professional experience, the required competencies for the role, and deep connections to the communities being served. They are data-driven and results-oriented and able to effectively manage complex projects by developing actionable roadmaps and monitoring progress to completion.
Executive Fellows are hired as FUSE employees and embedded in government agencies for at least one year of full-time work. They receive training, coaching, and professional support from FUSE throughout their fellowships to help achieve their project goals. FUSE Executive Fellows bring diverse perspectives and new approaches to their projects. They build strong relationships with diverse arrays of stakeholders, foster alignment within and across various layers of government, and build partnerships between governments and communities.
Across America, abandoned and blighted properties adversely affect neighborhoods and local economies. These distressed sites often diminish property values, deter investments, harm the environment, lead to adverse public health outcomes, and attract criminal activities. However, they also present significant opportunities for impactful economic and community development initiatives. With 30% of Cleveland's land in public hands, the city is uniquely positioned to effect positive change for its residents through an inclusive economic and workplace development program. At the same time, Cleveland has yet to capitalize on its industrial heritage and trends towards reshoring to reverse a decades long loss of jobs from the City. The FUSE Executive Fellow will drive dynamic and lasting improvements in this partnership with the City of Cleveland by playing a key role in this strategy to convert vacant brownfields into accessible jobs.
The City of Cleveland is committed to enhancing economic development by identifying and revitalizing vacant and deteriorated properties. This process, grounded in equity, aims to repurpose these spaces for productive use. The FUSE Executive Fellow will contribute by developing an operational playbook for equitable redevelopment. This strategy, informed by thorough data analysis, facilitates responsible, well-considered redevelopment projects. Such projects can attract new job opportunities, elevate surrounding property values, and enhance the quality of life for Cleveland's residents.
In collaboration with local government agencies, businesses, non-profits, and developers, the City of Cleveland is focused on transforming vacant, abandoned, underutilized, and tax-delinquent commercial properties into productive parcels, creating an independent Site Readiness for Good Jobs Fund (the “Site Fund”) to execute the work.
This revitalization effort aims to stimulate job retention and growth, attract and retain residents and businesses, enhance environmental resilience, contribute to green development, and boost the city's economic competitiveness. The initiative will repurpose 1000 urban acres, currently seen as community nuisances, into valuable assets. This will include an expanded tree canopy and measures to mitigate water runoff, ensuring the adoption of green practices throughout the redevelopment process.
In partnership with the Site Fund and FUSE, Cleveland will target and win business expansion and attraction prospects in advanced manufacturing, food production, and health technology and pair them with sites acquired, consolidated, and rehabilitated by the Site Fund.
PROJECT SUMMARY & POTENTIAL DELIVERABLES
Beginning in April 2024, the FUSE Executive Fellow will create a playbook for equitable redevelopment of Cleveland's blighted and vacant industrial properties.
Two essential tasks underlie the playbook: 1) the FUSE Fellow will help define economic and industrial development incentives for future development projects, and 2) will define a replicable and sustainable process to identify, target, and approach businesses that are viable prospects to expand or relocate on a site prepared by the Site Fund or in other locations in the City. The process will identify and leverage publicly available or city internal datasets and analyze them to identify high-potential targets. The playbook will help stimulate responsible, well-planned redevelopment of blighted industrial properties that can attract new job opportunities, increase surrounding property values, and improve the quality of life for Cleveland residents. This guide will be based on best practices from cities like Milwaukee and Chicago, where they’ve successfully revitalized urban land and buildings, resulting in an expanded workforce and increased demand for industry to relocate and grow.
The FUSE Executive Fellow will begin by conducting a landscape analysis to gather information on economic development industry trends, industrial market demand, available business databases, and sources of information about Cleveland-area businesses.. The FUSE Executive Fellow will use the collected information and community insights to shape profiles and criteria for potential end-users based on physical conditions, local input, environmental and economic potential, and other criteria. Data gathering, processing, and analysis will be an essential part of this role, as the FUSE Executive Fellow is charged with synthesizing information and arriving at an equitable plan for inclusive industrial workplace and economic development through innovative land and building reuse.
By April 2025, the Executive Fellow will have overseen the following:
- Development of an Equitable Redevelopment Incentives Framework: The FUSE Executive Fellow will develop a strategy for incentives and lead the development of Cleveland's industrial areas, using successful models from cities like Milwaukee and Chicago to guide responsible redevelopment that boost job markets and improve community living standards.
- Development of Business Intelligence Strategy: Tasked with conducting a landscape analysis, the Fellow will develop a replicable and sustainable system using internally and externally available data sources to identify viable leads for business expansion or attraction.
- Development of Site Profiles and Criteria for End-Users: The Fellow will use collected data and community insights to create criteria and profiles for potential end-users of the redeveloped sites, focusing on factors like physical conditions, environmental impact, and economic potential.
- Executive Sponsor – Ahmed Abonamah, Finance Chief; City of Cleveland
- Project Supervisor – Tom McNair, Economic Development Director, City of Cleveland
In addition to the qualifications listed below, a background in business development, financial market literacy, start-up culture, and data analysis/research methodology is strongly preferred for this project.
- Synthesizes complex information into clear and concise recommendations and action-oriented implementation plans.
- Develops and effectively implements both strategic and operational project management plans.
- Generates innovative, data-driven, and result-oriented solutions to difficult challenges.
- Responds quickly to changing ideas, responsibilities, expectations, trends, strategies, and other processes.
- Communicates effectively verbally and in writing and excels in active listening and conversing.
- Fosters collaboration across multiple constituencies in order to support more effective decision-making.
- Establishes and maintains strong relationships with diverse stakeholders, both inside and outside of government, particularly community-based relationships.
- Embraces differing viewpoints and implements strategies to find common ground.
- Demonstrates confidence and professional diplomacy while effectively interacting with individuals at all levels of various organizations.
FUSE is an equal opportunity employer with diversity, equity, and inclusion core values. We encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply for this position.