The U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration (ETA) has
commissioned this asset mapping “roadmap” to provide guidance to regions seeking to strengthen their competitive position in the global economy. Asset mapping is a critical first step in marshalling the resources that a community can leverage to support integrated workforce and economic development initiatives.
According to Webster’s Second International Unabridged Dictionary, an asset is “any item of value.” To achieve its economic and workforce development goals, every region has its own unique set of assets—tangible and intangible—to call upon. While these resources may or may not provide an advantage over other regions with similar goals, they do provide the foundation for actions that a region can take in realistic hopes of improving its overall competitive position.
Asset mapping can be undertaken at different levels, depending on the availability of time and resources and on the ambition of the regional leadership team. At its most basic level, the asset mapping process will provide leaders with an inventory of key resources that can be utilized in a development effort.
A more comprehensive asset mapping initiative will provide a deep understanding of the key networks and cultural attitudes that shape the regional economy, indicate “gap” areas that require further investment, and provide a baseline by which to judge future progress toward regional prosperity. Such an effort requires significant research to assess the impact of regional assets—human, financial, institutional, and natural among others—on the innovation and productivity that ultimately drive the prosperity of local citizens.
This guidebook is designed to help regional leaders understand the theory and practice of asset mapping, make a decision about what level of asset mapping is appropriate, and provide an easy-to-use guide for implementation.
NEXT: Go to Value of Asset Mapping