New Book on Future U.S. Economy by Former NFL Player Receives Critical Acclaim

Policymakers and Economic Leaders Laud Winning Strategy for America's Future Built on Economic Inclusion and Competitiveness Ideals

The Future Economy and Inclusive Competitiveness

When Johnathan Holifield, a former running back for the Cincinnati Bengals, took the stage at the annual Council on Foundations pre-conference program on April 23, he laid out a game plan for the future of the U.S. economy that intrigued foundation leaders from across the country.

Holifield is the author of a new book, The Future Economy and Inclusive Competitiveness®, which lays out a vision and framework to develop a national economy built for America’s 21st century multicultural society. Holifield’s strategy calls for investing in a national economic infrastructure built on new community systems that are inclusive of women, minorities and rural populations to bolster America’s global competitiveness.

“Global economic competitiveness is the game,” Holifield said. “The challenge America faces today is that new technologies have empowered populations worldwide to compete in the game that our nation dominated throughout the 20th century while a significant portion of the USA team sat on the sidelines. Today, in a knowledge-based global Innovation Economy, America can no longer compete on a global stage with less than our full complement of talent, which amounts to competing with one hand tied behind our backs. To retain our lofty position as a world-leading economic competitor, we must invest in cultivating all of our nation’s capacity, including women, minorities and rural populations.”

Holifield was a featured speaker at the recent conference of the Council on Foundations. He laid out several challenges the nation faces, highlighting the inflection point of a deeply segregated society still operating on a plan of 20th century economic obsolescence colliding with a knowledge-based, tech-driven globally competitive innovation economy. This economy is accelerating at a pace that requires a sense of urgent action to ensure large swaths of our nation’s population aren’t left behind.

Holifield is currently assisting Forward Cities, a membership group of four cities (Detroit, Cleveland, Durham and New Orleans), led by Christopher Gergen, that are developing inclusive innovation ecosystems and working together to form a collaborative that learns from one another. Holifield is studying the current strategies and approaches used by these cities to identify and include disconnected communities and populations into existing entrepreneurial ecosystems. He is advising the Forward Cities collaborators to help improve their processes with an overarching vision and strategy that can be used to scale up measurable outcomes that connect to existing metrics within regional economic competitiveness plans. Using strategies from his book, Holifield is actively engaged in helping cities establish winning economic frameworks built on the foundation of Inclusive Competitiveness.

“The Future Economy and Inclusive Competitiveness” receives critical acclaim:

  • “Brilliant! Unlike any other book written on economic development, this one encapsulates the challenges and opportunities of the nation through the lens of economic inclusion and competitiveness ideals. Johnathan has provided America a treasured asset that will continue to grow dividends over time and offer a wealth of knowledge to benefit generations to come.” — Jay Williams, Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development and Administrator, Economic Development Administration
  • “As the former Lt. Governor of Ohio, whose responsibility it was to direct Ohio’s economic development strategy, I believe that Holifield’s ideas on how to improve U.S. global economic performance while tapping into our country’s talented and diverse innovators, entrepreneurs and workforce are on point. It's a timely and important contribution to the emerging national discourse.” — Lee Fisher, Senior Advisor, CEOs for Cities
  • “Johnathan Holifield rightfully points out that if our country is to maintain its position of economic leadership in the world, we must unearth the hidden gifts of all Americans – including, Blacks, Latinos, women, and rural populations. Moreover, he lays forward a clearly defined and exciting path for accomplishing this. Every mayor and government leader in the United States should read this book.” — Mayor Byron W. Brown, City of Buffalo
  • “With a fresh voice, Holifield clearly identifies the economic imperative of our time. Prescribing a realignment of underserved community priorities to incorporate economic competitiveness, his restructuring framework is perceptive, coherent and transcends political affiliations. It will appeal to Republicans, Democrats, and independents alike. This book is an enlightening and empowering read for civil and human rights activists and leaders.” — Michael Schreiber, Chief Operating Officer, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights
  • “Johnathan’s Inclusive Competitiveness® framework is vital for education leaders, especially at our treasured historically Black colleges and universities. His defined vision to keep the U.S. a global economic powerhouse by providing a good education that empowers our deep well of diverse talent is essential for the common good. This book should be consumed and made actionable by educators, policymakers, philanthropists and corporate leaders alike.” — Dr. Leonard L. Haynes, III, Senior Director, Institutional Services, U.S. Dept. of Education (Ret.) Former Executive Director, White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities


Johnathan Holifield has a uniquely deep and diverse background as a former NFL player, attorney, civil rights advocate and innovation-based economic development leader. He is co-founder of ScaleUp Partners, a national consultancy specializing in development of inclusive economic ecosystems. As the architect of Inclusive Competitiveness® Holifield wrote the nation’s first policy report on the topic, which was unanimously adopted by the former Ohio Board of Regents and titled, Inclusive Competitiveness: Empowering Ohioans to Compete in the Innovation Economy.

Recently, Governor John Kasich announced new statewide investments to create jobs across the state. Still missing is the strategy of Inclusive Competitiveness® inculcated into Ohio’s overall economic ecosystem and strategic approach.

Johnathan Holifield lives in Cleveland, Ohio, and travels the nation speaking on economic inclusion and competitiveness strategies.


Mike Green
(541) 730-2164


Johnathan Holifield:
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Categories: Books, Economy, Economy, Town and City Government, Philanthropy, Corporate Social Responsibility

Tags: business, diversity, economic competitiveness, economic inclusion, economics, economy, inclusive competitiveness, innovation, innovation ecosystems, job growth, johnathan holifield, regional competitiveness

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ScaleUp Partners is a national consultancy specializing in development of inclusive economic ecosystems.

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