What should NE Ohio’s economic recovery look like? Take our survey, or meet us in person

Northeast Ohio’s economy has suffered setback after setback in recent decades. There was the loss of major industrial players which led to the American rust belt decline. Then there was the 2008-2009 recession. And finally, the pandemic.

While other parts of the country suffered from these events, places like Cleveland and Akron have had a harder time rebounding than others, says Emily Campbell, associate director for the Center for Community Solutions in Cleveland.

“The other parts of the country recover much faster and much more completely than Northeast Ohio does,” Campbell says. “Our communities, and especially the city of Cleveland, continue to have higher rates of poverty and higher unemployment than the rest of the country.”

That’s why the Northeast Ohio Solutions Journalism Collaborative (NEO SoJo) will soon embark on a year-long reporting project on the region’s economic recovery from the pandemic.

We want to highlight the unique problems this region faces as it tries to build a better economic future for all, not just for a privileged few. And we want to play a part in that story too, by engaging with the community; by highlighting tales of success; and by finding what’s working elsewhere, to see what solutions in other cities might also work out here.

To start off our new year of coverage on the right foot, we’re embarking on a listening tour. You can help by taking our short survey assessing your community’s needs. Or, you can meet us at one of our upcoming events. Our next one is a listening session on what YOUR concerns are regarding economic development and the environment in your neighborhood, in partnership with MetroHealth and The Land. Check out the details below:

When: Sat., Aug. 28, 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. (Check-in/refreshments 9:30 a.m. to10 a.m.).
Where: MetroHealth courtyard, 2500 MetroHealth Drive.

Sign up here.
We’d also like to meet people where they are, so, if you have an event coming up where we could discuss the topic of economic recovery, we’d love to hear from you! Please email NEO SoJo project coordinator Sharon Broussard.

NEO SoJo is a group of 18 news outlets in Cleveland, Akron and Kent working together to cover our region from the lens of solutions journalism. We spent the last year covering our communities’ response to COVID-19’s major impact on marginalized people, whether that be how Cleveland pivoted its strategy to house unsheltered people; how local churches leveraged their trust with the community to get people vaccinated; or exploring the gaps in aid people received for things like rent and utility bills.

Don’t forget to follow NEOSOJO on Twitter and Facebook to keep up-to-date on our latest stories and upcoming events.

This story is sponsored by the Northeast Ohio Solutions Journalism Collaborative, which is composed of 18-plus Northeast Ohio news outlets including FreshWater Cleveland.

Read more articles by Conor Morris.

 Conor Morris is a corps member with Report for America. Morris covered Appalachian southeast Ohio for the weekly newspaper The Athens News for six years. He reported on Athens County, but especially local government, the campus of Ohio University (his alma mater), cops and courts, and the social and economic issues facing the residents of Ohio’s poorest county. Morris helped guide The News toward two Newspaper of the Year awards in its division of the annual Ohio News Media Association Hooper Contest. Morris himself won six first-place Hooper awards for his reporting over the years, including for a story series about police and hospital failures in a sexual- assault investigation in Athens. Morris was born in Marietta, Ohio.