reports and research from the jes

ben speggen

JES Vice President

JES Vice President Ben Speggen was invited by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany to attend a week-long international study tour on structural change. What follows is an overview look at what he saw and learned, and is the first report in a series that will explore Transatlantic idea-sharing.

 transatlantic idea-sharing can lead to just economic future-7/18/2023

Rev. Charles Brock

Brock Institute for Mega Issues, JES Board of Trustees 

In a new Jefferson Publications series, Rev. Brock takes a look at some of the oldest universities in the world that are still going strong today. He examines how they have shaped our world and their relevance in today's society.

probing education harvard and benazir bhutto-6/9/2023

probing education university of salamanca and Ángela Abós Ballarín-5/26/2023

probing education isaiah berlin, 'historian of ideas'- 5/19/2023

probing education university of oxford and roger bacon-5/12/2023

probing education university of paris and simone veil-5/5/2023

probing education Thomas Aquinas and the university of paris- 4/28/2023

probing education Laura Bassi: Breaks Glass ceiling for 18th century women-4/24/2023

probing education fez university-the oldest in the western world-3/31/2023
probing education amazing ancient universities-then and now- 3/24/2023


Erie's Make or Break - Quality, Affordable Housing in Every Neighborhood

In an ongoing series on sustainability issues by Court Gould, Erie’s Make or Break — Quality, Affordable Housing in Every Neighborhood, makes the case for the promise of housing opportunity in welcoming neighborhoods, the high stakes for Erie, and systems that are ripe to be improved, and makes numerous recommendations to mitigate Erie's housing disorder that continues to put Erie on its economic heels while impeding the ultimate glue that holds Erie's promise - person to person respect and care.

Can New Americans Reverse Erie's Population Decline?

This article, by Edinboro University of Pennsylvania Professor Baher Ghosheh, Ph.D., is part of a larger project by Dr. Ghosheh that examines the history, challenges, and opportunities of immigration in the United States. The project is particularly timely given polarizing views of immigration in the nation and a new U.S. Census report due in May 2022. He is currently working on a new book focusing on demographic trends and immigration patterns in Erie, Pennsylvania (1960-2020).


This report gives insight into retaining and attracting residents in the city of Erie. Written by Court Gould, MPA, the publication highlights factors that give a sense of order and community caring overlooked in Erie neighborhoods. From residential competition, sidewalks and trees, and littering, getting "back to basics" is essential to not losing the residents in the city to the suburbs. Gould features imperatives that have worked in other cities and stresses the changes needed to community infrastructure for the city of Erie.


Written by Al Lubiejewski (with research by Edward Robasky)A look back at Erie Icons: A Sanida Safari is about milk delivery from another era, Erie’s former Sanitary Farms Dairy (Sanida), and its captivating owner O. Carlyle Brock, whose big-game hunts and dairy museum captured the imagination of Erie children and adults in the 1950s,’60s, and early ’70s.


The Covid-19 pandemic has revealed stark disparities in communities nationwide. It has also illuminated the shortcomings of some traditional labels. Clearer than ever is that what too often passes as “economic development” really does not lift all boats. Equitable development is a positive development strategy that ensures everyone participates in and benefits from the region’s economic transformation – especially low-income residents, communities of color, immigrants, and others at risk of being left behind. This report is written by JES sustainable solutions consultant, Court Gould, MPA. 

erie's diversity is the path to prosperity: tackling the teacher-to-student mismatch

This is a report on teacher diversity in Erie, Pennsylvania's public school systemWritten by Court Gould, the publication highlights the disparity and the issues it can cause, along with the many benefits of having more teachers who are racially and ethnically similar to their students. He offers recommendations to help diversify the faculty of the Erie School District, which has a very diverse student population.

Caring for erie's economy: childcare is economic development

This is a report on childcare and its impact on economic development in Erie, Pennsylvania. Written by Court Gould, the publication compares the childcare crisis that Covid 19 brought forth, to that of World War II, when the workforce dramatically shifted to accommodate the needs of wartime. What can Erie do about our childcare crisis? Our economic crisis? Gould poses the question: "What if Erie became the leading American city where childcare is universal?" Childcare is economic development.

movers of edinboro

Authored by Ruth Cogan and Melinda Meyer, of the Edinboro Area Historical Society, remember LeRoy and Beatrice Smith Family for breaking racial and cultural barriers while leading by example.


In in the wake of the nationwide rollout of three Covid-19 vaccines, lead author Dr. Parris Baker explores in this latest JES Report “Faith, Fears, and Facts: African Americans, Vaccinations, and the Fierce Urgency of Now for BIPOC Communities” the politics and perceptions around vaccination and offers key recommendations as well as corrects some of the misinformation that surrounds the effectiveness of the vaccines.

A Pain-filled, Polarized America: Reflections, Recommendations on Racism in U.S., Erie

In this new Jefferson report, “A Pain-filled, Polarized America: Reflections, Recommendations on Racism in U.S., Erie,” author Dr. Parris Baker examines America’s history and grappling with racism in the context of George Floyd's violent death while in police custody, the rise of global protests, and the ongoing pervasion of the coronavirus pandemic. While reviewing the country’s history rooted in racism and the centuries-long impacts it’s had, Baker highlights current initiatives, such as Campaign Zero, and outlines key recommendations to drive equitable progress through policy.

Charrette Follow Up: Reconnecting Bayfront

Back in January 2020, the Jefferson released its report on ways to enhance and reconnect Erie’s bayfront to extended downtown areas and neighborhoods above the bluff. It was truly a combined effort of local individuals and organizations headed by the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative as plans for a renovated Bayfront Parkway were set in motion by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Now in June 2020, the Jefferson is releasing a follow-up report as CUDC Project Manager Kristen Zeiber responds to PennDOT’s master plan for the parkway. Similar to the original report, Zeiber brings her expertise to better understanding the challenges and opportunities of rethinking the parkway. She also discusses the context of the parkway project in this age of the coronavirus, its special challenges, and the desire of bicyclists and pedestrians to better use bayfront amenities


This essay, written by members of the Jefferson’s team, including Scholars-in-Residence Drs. Judith Lynch and Andrew Roth, is an attempt to look at COVID-19 through the lens of past experiences and make recommendations for the future. It starts with an explanation of the COVID-19 at national, state, and local levels. It follows with an in-depth look at how America has dealt with pandemics of the past and explores how Erie confronted crises in the past. The essay concludes by making the case that “a crisis is a terrible thing to waste,” as Stanford University economist Paul Romer has put it. Erie’s leadership needs to come together in an entrepreneurial spirit rather than
retreat, holding out hope that the state and federal governments will come to save us and any other metro area failing to take its destiny into its own hands.


With the current crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are a lot of unanswered questions looming in the nation. “When will this end? How long will we need to self-quarantine? When this is all over, how will the pandemic change the way in which we live?” Erie, Pennsylvania is a city whose community is asking those same questions. With a town that has been through a vast amount of innovation, restructuring, and progress over the past decade, all that work could potentially be at risk if action is not taken to save the local small businesses in the area. 

Find out more information about "WHY ERIE'S DOWNTOWN IS A PROXY FOR THE NATION: THE FUTURE OF MAIN STREET BUSINESSES AMIDST THE COVID-19 CRISIS." This report is co-authored by Bruce Katz, the Founding Director of the Nowak Metro Finance Lab at Drexel University and a Partner with Accelerator for America, and Ben Speggen, Jefferson Educational Society Vice President and Erie Reader contributing editor, and has been published in conjunction with the Nowak Lab and AfA of Drexel University and the Erie Reader.

JCLA 2019: Blue Economy in Erie County
Jefferson Report: Erie May Lose Pro Baseball
Jefferson Report: Food Deserts Still Common but Communities Fight Back
Jefferson Report: Harmful Algal Blooms: A Threat to the Waters of the World
Jefferson Report: Erie Delegation Confident After Trip to China
Raimy Fellows 2018 - Raimy Ideas
JCLA 2018: Trapped In Poverty Report
2019 Annual Report

The 2017 Jefferson Civic Leadership Academy Cohort worked together to produce the #ErieOpioidProject, an awareness campaign aimed at changing the conversation about addiction from one of demonizing stigma to one of encouragement and compassion. Several people were interviewed to show that addiction affects everyone; their stories are available below.



To download the 2017 JCLA cohort's informational flier on the opioid crisis, please click here.

To review the sources used by the cohort in this research, please click here.


Helpline for addiction: 1-800-662-4357 


Naloxone and Narcan: 

As defined by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Naloxone is a "medication designed to rapidly reverse opioid overdose. It is an opioid antagonist—meaning that it binds to opioid receptors and can reverse and block the effects of other opioids. It can very quickly restore normal respiration to a person whose breathing has slowed or stopped as a result of overdosing with heroin or prescription opioid pain medications." Narcan Nasal Spray is the first and only FDA-approved nasal form of Naloxone.  

It is important to know that in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Wolf announced a standing order for Naloxone to combat the heroin epidemic in 2015. Giant Eagle, Wegmans, Walgreens, and other pharmacies can provide you with doses of Narcan. Narcan often costs as little as $65 for two doses. To learn how to respond to an overdose emergency by getting trained online, please click here


Get Treatment: 

Erie County Office of Drug & Alcohol Abuse

155 W. 8th Street, Suite 418

Erie, PA 16501

Call: 814-451-6877 or visit:

PA Center of Excellence- Esper Treatment Center

25 West 18th Street

Erie, PA 16501

Call: 814-459-0817, or visit: 

Gaudenzia Erie, Inc.

414 W. 5th Street

Detox Admissions

Erie, PA 16507 

Available 24/7Call: 814-459-4775 or visit:

What to Do with Unwanted/Expired Medications:

Currently, there are 12 Med Return Unit locations in Erie County. To review their locations, please click here.

The following can be turned in for safe disposal: prescription medications and patches, prescription ointments and cough syrups, over the counter medications, vitamins, medication samples, and pet medications. 

Please note that the following items are not accepted: needles/lancets/syringes, aerosol cans and inhalers, alcohol, peroxide, clinic or medical waste, and personal care products.


About the Jefferson Educational Civic Leadership Academy:

Launched in 2015, the Jefferson Civic Leadership Academy prepares Erie professionals, ages 25 to 45, for meaningful, fulfilling, and impactful engagement in their community by providing a dynamic and unique environment that fosters teamwork, growth, and learning through a transformative experience for those seeking to be change-agents for their community.

Through the Civic Leadership Academy, students examine the inner workings of local governments to emerge as civic leaders capable of effecting positive change for Erie County’s future with an understanding of Erie’s past and present. With a close look at Erie’s economic, entrepreneurial, and innovation ecosystems, the Civic Leadership Academy informs mindful leaders of Erie’s post-industrial landscape while exposing them to global ideas that can be applied to Erie County’s overall developmental health and wellbeing. 


#ErieOpioidProject Campaign Sponsors:

  • Community Access Television
  • Connoisseur Media
  • Erie Metropolitan Transit Authority
  • Erie News Now
  • Erie Reader
  • Fox 66
  • Jet 24
  • The Behrend Beacon
  • The Gannon Knight
  • The Meciad
  • WQLN
A Citizen's Action Guide to Blight

The product of the 2016 cohort of the Jefferson Civic Leadership Academy, this document contains practical tips for hands-on activities to address blight, as well as resources to engage elected officials to create a policy to mitigate and prevent blight. To download a copy of this report, please click here.

Launched in 2015 as one of the three key initiatives of the Jefferson Alliance for Community Progress, the Jefferson Civic Leadership Academy prepares Erie professionals for meaningful, fulfilling, and impactful engagement in their community. The Civic Leadership Academy provides a unique and dynamic environment fostering teamwork, growth, and learning through a transformative experience for those seeking to be change-agents for their community.

Through the Jefferson Civic Leadership Academy, citizens examine the inner workings of local government to emerge as stronger civic leaders capable of effecting positive change for Erie County's future with an understanding of Erie's past and present. With a close look at Erie's economic, entrepreneurial, and innovation ecosystems, the Civic Leadership Academy informs mindful leaders of Erie's post-industrial landscape while exposing them to global ideas that can be applied to Erie County's overall developmental health and well-being.