WRI featured at a Cumberland County Chambers of Commerce event focused on economic challenges and opportunities in the county. Centered on WRI’s Our Piece of the Pie research, Senate President Sweeney, Senator Van Drew and 80 more engaged citizens turned out.
The conversation focused on disparities in state funding and current economic obstacles as well as solutions and recent momentum in the region. Senator Sweeney noted that “South Jersey is finally receiving the attention it deserves beyond our state’s borders . . . Additionally, smaller businesses are investing in our South Jersey counties because they know we have a qualified workforce, growing communities and ideal locations. And all of this is supported by local chambers of commerce.”
WRI executive director Darren Spielman presented the Our Piece of the Pie study and joined the panel. Other panelists included Mayor Albert Kelly, Freeholder Director Joe Derella, Senate President Sweeney, and Senator Jeff Van Drew. Many more elected officials and business leaders were in attendance.
An impressive collective spirit emerged at the event and the beginnings of ideas for county- and region-wide action developed. Given recent events in Cumberland, collective efforts are more important than ever.
WRI is proud of the work we do to support the county through our roles in the Cumberland County Positive Youth Coalition, which works on reducing juvenile delinquency and keeping kids out of the school-to-prison pipeline, and CC THRIVE, aimed at reducing gang and gun violence. In a poignant op-ed on August 13, Cumberland County Prosecutor Webb-McRae reminded us that in the face of tragedy it is important to grieve and to remember the good people and institutions of this community – those who are already working together to build the economy and the wellbeing of the county.