I recently had the opportunity to attend the 2019 Indiana Economic Development Course in Muncie, Indiana. It was a fantastic, eye-opening week of lectures educating us on how to better serve the community from an economic development perspective.
Below are two primary takeaways I had from the conference:
- Traditional economic development attraction strategies are changing. Historically, economic development focused on attracting jobs, which then attracted individuals to the community. Now, economists are finding individuals are choosing communities where they wish to live and they will find jobs surrounding these areas. So, instead of the people following the jobs, the jobs are following the people. Consequently, employers are locating to the well-populated areas to tap into these labor pools.
- Quality of place is more important than ever before. Due to the changing attraction strategy discussed above, communities and economic developers are focusing more on the quality of place for their communities to attract more individuals to our communities. Initiatives like downtown revitalization, street and alley art, community centers, and trail and nature projects are just a few of the projects which are helping strengthen communities.
Special thanks to Duke Energy for providing the opportunity for me to attend. I greatly appreciate the investment and encouragement as I better equip to serve Boone County and its municipalities.