Regional industry clusters represent a potent source of productivity at a moment of national vulnerability to global economic competition, which has put the nation's capacity for generating stable, well-paying jobs for many U.S. workers at risk. While the federal government has supported cluster development, the current programs are inadequate for bolstering competitive regions and competitive clusters in particular. To better capitalize on its reach and resources, the government should establish an industry clusters program that stimulates the collaborative interactions of firms and supporting organizations in regional economies to produce more commercial innovation and higher wage employment. In this, the federal government’s approach should be flexible, “bottom-up,” and collaboration-oriented, rather than prescriptive, “top-down,” or input-focused.
Image: Michael Kitromilides