Economic, Community, and Workforce Development
Economic Development Strategy
The Economic Development Strategy is the means by which a community can determine its roadmap for success. A strategy confirms and enhances existing successful programs and efforts, and provides best-practice recommendations for developing the capacity and infrastructure necessary to remain competitive in today’s economic landscape. The strategy leverages past successes and current capacity to effectively position a community to enjoy sustainable, balanced, and equitable growth into the near- and long-term futures. It also details the additional actions necessary to attain a community’s optimal level of competitiveness. The basis of a strategy comes from all the previous qualitative and quantitative research conducted in a community to date.
The Competitive Assessment provides a detailed examination of the community's competitiveness as a place to live, work, visit, and do business using an approach that focuses on "People, Place, and Prosperity." During this phase, the Market Street team evaluates both quantitative and qualitative data and presents the findings from this research in a manner that highlights the key strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges facing the community.
Rather than simply describing trends for a variety of data points, the Competitive Assessment will synthesize key findings to frame the discussion around the key “stories” and competitive issues facing the community. This approach is intended to produce a resource that does not simply identify key findings but uses them to determine strategic implications for the community.
A vision planning process helps communities articulate how they are different from other communities, and provides a framework for creating the goals and actions to achieve this new identity. Using data analysis and input from a wide range of community stakeholders, the process takes community leaders through three to four phases, ultimately reaching consensus about a vision statement and measurable actions that will define the Vision Plan. Vision planning processes are particularly useful for non-metro communities that are seeking to build a long-term community and development strategy and strengthen the organizational resources needed to be a competitive and appealing community.
Community Vision Plan
Critical to the success of a community’s strategic process is the inclusion of key local constituencies in the development of the core tenets and priorities of the plan. Reaching out to as many community stakeholders as possible during the process builds consensus around a strategy’s goals and objectives, and creates the “buy in” necessary for effective implementation.
Stakeholder input is inclusive of a number of different outreach techniques, including one-on-one interviews, focus groups, online surveys, and meetings with community leaders.
Target Business Analysis
The Target Business Analysis takes a “bottom up” approach to cluster identification. It begins by examining the unique attributes of the workforce and the region, rather than taking a “top down” examination of industrial composition. The Analysis assesses a region’s existing target business sectors to determine if additions or revisions are necessary to optimize diversification and quality economic development.
The analysis also includes the potential development of additional target categories. Target business sector recommendations are based on national economic trends, existing regional assets, and an understanding of key competitive advantages such as workforce skill levels, geography, and infrastructure.