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Pima County 

Here at Pima County Economic Development, we’re excited to announce the release of the updated Economic Development Plan for 2019-2021. It’s not often you’ll find us government types getting worked up over bureaucratic treatises, but we think this plan update is the exception.

The Economic Development Plan outlines in great detail the county’s goals in helping improve the regional economy and focused efforts to promote economic development, job growth, higher wages and increased disposable income. We’re confident this plan provides the necessary road map Pima County and our regional partners need to sustain and grow the economy, creating a rising tide that will lift all boats. 

The fundamental goals identified in the updated plan are: 

• Identify ways to overcome limitations that affected successes

• Diversify the economy

• Increase number of jobs

• Increase disposable income

• Identify multiple paths to enhance workforce

• Develop new local development funding sources 

• Creation of a regional identity

For each of these fundamental goals we included a number of action items designed to provide real guidance and strategies to navigate the way. The updated Economic Development Plan also describes numerous strategies the county intends to employ in furtherance of these goals. 

Among these strategies include business attraction and retention, supporting major industries, enhancing existing and creating new employment centers, enhancing relationships with foreign economic partners, increasing competitiveness through updated budget and property tax strategies. 

The plan’s workforce development strategies are especially critical for Pima County to be a player in the global, knowledge and technology-based economy. The Economic Development Plan addresses the challenges businesses in the region face in acquiring qualifies workers in an age of full employment and an aging workforce.

One way for us to accomplish this is in working with our partners to increase the talent and number of workers and job seekers (both new labor-market entrants, incumbent workers and dislocated workers) completing industry-validated post-secondary training in science, technology, engineering and math related fields and other demand occupations. 

Added to this, we are working with partner organizations on a number of efforts, like supporting the development of a stronger K-12 education pipeline, supporting technical education, assisting mature workers in developing new marketable skills, assisting military veterans with post-service employment, and supporting employment-readiness efforts for adults with barriers to employment. 

Pima County has an important role to play in education and preparing the next Economic Development Plan covers generations of employees by helping streamline and expand the STEM and technical education pipelines. We also can assist in developing new JTED programs based on local industry needs and projected opportunities for our students. 

Throughout all of the updated Economic Development Plan our emphasis is placed in regional cooperation and pursuing collaborative economic efforts to ensure more opportunities for all of Southern Arizona. 

In our region, there are many entities in both the public and private sector that work together to maximize the attractiveness of the region. At Pima County Economic Development, we have working relationships with all these groups so we can act as a unified source for site selectors and CEOs who are looking to scout their next expansion venture. 

Our goal is to find the best ways to facilitate economic growth and continued prosperity for the region. This plan enumerates all these goals in one document and charts a course for us to take to reach those goals.

There’s of course so much more in the plan that I can’t get to in this space, like our emphasis on improved public infrastructure as a tool of economic development and our efforts to help solidify and sustain a regional identity to promote the region to businesses and tourists like. See for yourself. 

John Moffatt is the Pima County Economic Development Director.