Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name



Interdisciplinary Studies Program

First Advisor

Jerome Reide


Many urban developers have responded to the challenges of economic development1 by providing tax incentives to businesses for relocating to urban areas (Bartik, 1995). By not being able to provide the skilled labor force that businesses require, developing communities are not postured to fully take advantage of the newly created job opportunities. Thus, wage disparities between the classes increase, leaving many of the underclass citizens without adequate employment for sustaining modest living standards (Turner, 1991).

As part of various economic development strategies2, increased concerns have been given to human-capital based strategies (Psacharo-Poulos, 1985). This paper puts forth the argument that the implementation of increased human capital-based economic development strategies3 directly targeted to residents, when compared to programs aimed at business, can do as much or more to improve the standard of living of residents, and should be considered when creating economic development strategies (Turner, 1991). Directing development efforts toward increased spending and/or giving attention to education or training programs are forms of human capital investment that may be considered. The comparison of a local business investment strategy (General Motors Poletown) to a local human capital investment strategy (Focus: HOPE) will be employed as a means of expressing the significance that human capital investment may have on a local economy.

1 Economic development is a means for increasing local jobs, lowering unemployment, and enhanceing tax base.
2 Economic development strategies consist of the implementation of various initiatives that promote economic development, i.e., empowerment zone, renaissance zone, etc.
3 Human capital-based economic development strategies include but are not limited to programs geared toward increasing citizens productive (educational and employment) skills as well as access to employment, i.e. educational programs, performance guarantees, etc.