Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Council discusses strategic plan for job creation


The Council discussed a draft of the first ever strategic plan for job creation and economic development during their work session Tuesday. The Council initiated the development of this plan over two years ago after adopting an legislative intent statement calling for an “…aggressive city-wide economic development strategy that refine[s] the economic development strategy of the City…” (Council Legislative Intent Statement 10)

Dixon Holmes, Provo city’s economic development director, discussed with the Council how his department saw this plan, emphasizing that it is more than just a retail plan, but is focused on long term job creation.
“This report is about creating opportunities for our environment in Provo to continue to thrive, and create and facilitate job creation,” Holmes said.

The report itself describes six key areas the Council and city can pursue to help further economic development as future goals for the city. Those specific objectives represented in the material presented are: 1) Organization and Business Environment; 2) Entrepreneurship and Innovation; 3) Workforce and Education; 4) Infrastructure; 5) Quality of Life; 6) Marketing.

Holmes emphasized the plan has a five-to-seven year outlook, and would be subject to modifications and corrections which would update the plan periodically to keep on track with the goal of job creation. The department also indicated a desire for feedback, comment, and suggestions from the Council.
The Council also discussed receiving a quarterly report from the economic development department, which would offer updates on progress of how the department was applying the plan.

Council Member Hal Miller described a key benefit of economic strategic plans, which he said, when harmonized with the Council’s vision, would provide guidance about businesses the city would welcome in the community.

“This plan gives you direction, but it also allows you to say no to some things that don’t agree with our vision as outlined in the plan,” Miller said. “This allows us to be a lot more strategic and directed, which is a good thing.”

There was some discussion of the appropriateness of topics presented in the report, with multiple members probing whether the six categories presented were comprehensive and complete reflections of a future vision of economic development.

The Council scheduled further discussion regarding the implementation of this plan for Council Meeting on June 2, 2013, 5:30pm. Do you have input you would like the Council to consider when reviewing this plan? Leave a comment on this post, or contact your member directly here.