Regional economic development is not exactly new – in fact, it has been around a while. Today, though, these partnerships are possibly more important than ever. For several reasons regionalism within our region makes perfect sense – we share a workforce and our workforce data is combined in the San Antonio – New Braunfels Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), we have been marketing together for at least three years, and finally – it just makes sense to have a regional organization to compete with the other regional partnerships.
Although the regional partnership is new – well, formally it is new; we have been sharing information across the lines for quite some time, because if a company locates within the region – we all still win. With this said, the win may not be in the form of a huge announcement with hundreds of jobs, but it certainly can seem that way, especially for the local jobseeker that was just hired by the new announcement. The win may also not be in the form of a huge capital investment, but the win could produce several suppliers that support the announced company. The result of a company locating within a region produces several opportunities for all of those located within the region.
Workforce is one of the most critical boxes (if not the single) that site selectors need to check when looking at site location. With pre-COVID unemployment rates at their lowest rate in over 10 years within our MSA, having the backing of a mobile regional workforce is crucial – even if this means reaching well outside of the New Braunfels city limits. If a large corporate relocation opportunity were to occur, the site selectors have become more tuned into searching for a workforce that is greater than an hour drive time away – and usually the wages for these jobs do support the extended drive time. Workforce is the most important item within a relocation project – so we should be a very strong workforce advocate for our region.
Marketing a region provides options for the site selector! Site selectors prefer options when Perfectville USA just doesn’t pop up on their list of immediate communities they need to start their search in. During a recent marketing trip, the regional approach was well accepted – in fact,one site selector stated that this should have happened years ago. Marketing the region allows us (all of us in the region) to compete with the other huge regional partnerships!
Competition among regions is not something new- but it certainly makes us more competitive if we are all working toward a common goal – and leave the what’s in it for me (or my community) out! If we look at those regional partnerships that have been successful – two key observations can be observed and are practiced by all in their partnership: PLANNING and COMMITMENT! Having a plan to succeed and a commitment to achieve the plan is apparent in every successful partnership, so team players is critical to the success of the partnership!
Now – back to working on strategies to make certain that Regional Partnership planning and commitment are successful . . .