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Leader of the Pack – Chamber Chatter

With an unemployment rate of 3.1% and many of our employers struggling to find enough people, growing our talent pool is vital to our economic success.  No matter how many incentives we offer a company, if they can’t find workers, they won’t come.   That’s why our new strategy focuses so heavily on workforce development, and that’s why we’re creating the Wichita Falls Talent Partnership.

The next step in the process is to hire a director for the Partnership.  We’re looking for someone who can bring together a diverse group of stakeholders and push them forward to create effective programs.  We need a facilitator, a communicator, a leader.  Someone who can serve as the face of the initiative.  Is this you?  If so, send your cover letter, resume, and references to jobs@wichitafallschamber.com.  For more information on the initiative and the position, visit www.fallsfuture.com.

PS – We manage four different websites for various purposes.  Info about Chamber services, personnel, and member benefits can be found at Wichita Falls Chamber Our economic development efforts center around Land In Wichita FallsChoose Wichita Falls is where you can find info about all the great programs and events going on around town.  And finally, Falls Future is the place to learn more about the community-wide economic development strategy we’re implementing.    Read up!

Yes Virginia, there is an Amazon

Last week I attended the Southern Economic Development Roundtable, an annual gathering of 60 or so economic developers from around the South. The agenda is determined by the participants and focuses on challenges we all face and interesting projects we’d like to discuss. Fortunately for us, the most interesting economic development project to come about in quite some time was represented in the room.
Stephen Moret, a friend of mine from our days of doing economic development in Louisiana, is the CEO of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and the guy who landed 25,000 jobs from Amazon. Here are some interesting notes from his presentation:
  • Over 500 people worked on Virginia’s proposal.
  • The cost of setting this facility up in Virginia is over $1 billion more than it would have been in Atlanta, the next competitor down on the list.
  • The DC area produces more IT graduates than anywhere else in the country.
  • The region’s ability to provide tech talent was the deciding factor.
  • Other companies in the region felt like this was a positive development for them, as opposed to competition.
  • The cash portion of their incentive proposal was important only to make Amazon feel wanted.

What can we learn from this? 

With an unemployment rate stuck near 3.0%, our ability to develop and provide workforce is key to the future of Wichita Falls. No matter how much money we throw at a company, if they can’t find the workers, they won’t be successful here. For us to win, we have to solve this problem.
The good news is that our aggressive strategy will help us get there. Check out www.fallsfuture.com to learn more.
Let’s build something extraordinary!