Ronnie Bryant closed the economic development boot camp I attended at UNC last week and sold me on wanting to work in this field.
In the lean years at F4K, when John Shaw and I worked long hours to keep the lights on, I used to think, “That’s it. I’m going to find some high-need, stable job that won’t keep me up at nights.”
We didn’t sleep or earn much then, but I felt alive.
Economic development gives me that same motivation to get involved.
Simply, economic development is about creating jobs in your community.
That can include loving on your existing businesses and stealing recruiting businesses from somewhere else. Increase your tax base, improve the quality of life for people in your hood.
Even for me, coming from a career and workforce development POV and not working in econdev right now, the course was worthwhile. We learned about ethics codes, business retention strategies and how county vs. regional economic development organizations work together.
Some memorable takeaways:
Incentives are BS.
Businesses look at workforce, infrastructure, workforce, education, workforce and oh, also workforce, when they consider moving to an area. Company heads may say they want incentives on the table, but generally after they’ve decided to move to your area. This came from a no-BS 20-year veteran site consultant.
Workforce, workforce, workforce.
Mac Holladay‘s exact words were: “If you don’t remember anything else I say here today, remember workforce. The rest is details.”
Businesses want to know they can hire the workforce they need, if they locate in, say, Person County, and they really don’t care, if that workforce is driving from Danville, VA or not.
Would-be entrepreneurs cite healthcare as the number one obstacle to starting a new business.
If you’re thinking about taking this course, take it. Add the dates to your calendar, so you don’t miss it. We had top-notch content everyday from veteran developers. And while I’m $650 poorer, I’m more resolved to come back from Korea and get to work. I miss being part of a movement.
Interested in economic development? UNC’s School of Government offers more than the basics boot camp.