Most people think of new buildings or businesses when they think of economic development. This is somewhat true, but not entirely. IEDC (International Economic Development Council) defines economic development as a program, group of policies or set of activities that seek to improve the economic well-being and quality of life for a community by creating and or retaining jobs that facilitate growth and provide a stable tax base. I would equate economic development to a football game. It seems timely with NAU Homecoming game set for this weekend.
In football, there are several players on the field at a time. Every player has a specific role to get to the end goal, which is to win the game. This is similar to economic development as we look at all of our partners that we have who help us position Flagstaff for smart, sustainable growth.
APS (Arizona Public Service), our local power utility provider, helps us plans for the future with power infrastructure needs and helps keeps Flagstaff competitive with utility rates.
Coconino County Career Center and One Stop Career Center at Goodwill helps with workforce development efforts by delivering workshops, programs and seminars related to specific industries or to the entire business community.
City of Flagstaff Economic Development Team provides consumer based demographic information to help business grow and expand as well as connect them to potential incentives provided by outside agencies.
ECONA (Economic Collaborative of Northern Arizona), looks at the region as a whole and coordinates regional efforts to improve economic vitality in Northern Arizona.
Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce helps local small businesses be successful by offering an array of services.
NACET (Northern Arizona Center for Entrepreneurship Technologies), helps entrepreneurs and business start-ups graduate from the incubator, expand into the accelerator and grow into the community.
NAU (Northern Arizona University) & CCC (Coconino Community College) provide the future talent pipeline to our workforce for new companies considering Flagstaff.
Elected Officials are often the coaches who make the announcement of a new company. They also set public policy that helps keep existing businesses here and plan for future economic development.
You, every time you eat at a restaurant, buy a beverage or have family stay in one of our local hotels.
A portion of those monies fund economic development and help promote sustainable retail, commercial and industrial development that enhances high wage / low impact employment and preserves the high quality of life we have here in Flagstaff.
The benefits of a successful economic development program are increasing the tax base, creating new jobs and diversifying our economy. Additional tax funding supports and improves local infrastructure. Creating new jobs for Flagstaff provides more opportunities for citizens to advance. By diversifying our economy and focusing on targeted sectors of biotech, advanced manufacturing, health care and digital type jobs not only provide higher wages but also expand our economic base.
As you can see, Economic Development is critical for Flagstaff and we have a football team helping to make our local economy vibrant as ever. Together, we can raise the bar and standard of living for our residents and obtain the highest quality of life. FBN
By Gail Jackson
Gail Jackson is the business attraction manager for the City of Flagstaff.