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Moving South County forward Xema Jacobson | Fri, Aug 15 2014 12:00 PM

The purpose of the South County Economic Development Council’s Visioning Project Strategic Plan is to knit together the many projects in the region with some of the key industry clusters to create a unified economic strategy.
In short, it’s about job creation and attracting and retaining businesses in the South County.

The plan was launched in July 2013 and included data analysis, a survey of more than 4,500 individuals, expert interviews, workshops and focus groups. Cecilia Estolano of Estolano LeSar Perez Advisors LLC outlined the strategic plan on Tuesday.

The plan identifies six key industries that the South County has a competitive advantage in – meaning the area either has a greater concentration of businesses and employment in the cluster compared to other areas throughout the country, or it has about the same concentration but South County has advantages that position it well to capture a greater share of the work.

There are nine establishments that employ 2,632 workers in the aerospace industry, which is a high concentration, compared to other areas of the country, identifying it as a key industry for the area.

The other key industries include: health care, advanced manufacturing, maritime-related industries, food processing distribution and tourism.

Health care provides the full spectrum of occupations and pay rates. A strategy for South County will be to make sure workers have access to entry level positions and have an articulated career path to move up the ladder and stay in the area.

Educational opportunities and training are major components to the action steps based on the strategic plan. Sector-specific job training programs can be designed around the jobs that will be generated by projects, such as the Brown Field redevelopment.

Nathan Cadieux of the Corky McMillin Companies chaired the effort.  The Corky McMillin Companies’ Millenia project will provide an urban village that has the potential to attract and retain talent in South County, and creates an opportunity to attract advanced manufacturing companies by marketing the close proximity of talented workers.
Another huge advantage for the South County is the availability of 2 million square feet of industrial-zoned land that can be used for the expansion or relocation of various companies.

The final draft of the strategic plan will be posted on South County EDC’s website, and includes a detailed task list with targets for the action items. The next steps will be to convene groups around different strategies, action items and tasks to decide the future of South County.   This effort will include many partners.  We are counting on you — please join us in building the future of South County.

Jacobson is  chair of the South County Economic Development Council.

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