If you have followed CFEDC and Regional Economic Development for any length of time, you would be aware that regional stakeholders paid Garner Economics to product the report Pathways to Prosperity in early 2014. Within weeks of the release of the report, CFEDC held a public event and invited stakeholders to discuss strategies for investment and collaboration with an eye toward accomplishing the goals set out in the report. The US economy has taken some turns, and the regional economy is arguably stronger than in early 2014; nonetheless, the Pathways to Prosperity report remains the current and data-driven analysis of the region’s strengths, weaknesses opportunities and threats.
In at least one way, the Pathways to Prosperity analysis and report is a mirror of our region. Not surprisingly, analysts recommended continuing to invest in trying to attract industries that have already proven their success in our region. Similarly, the report presents as one of the biggest opportunities for the region the large undeveloped tracts of land in the region’s industrial corridor along highway 421 North of Wilmington.
In another way, the report is aspirational, in that it talks about opportunities for growth in economic sectors that no one but economic development professionals and participants in that sector would be aware of. These unrecognized trends could present opportunities for investment in workforce development, utilities, regulatory changes, etc.
So, we’ve been asking ourselves…what steps have been taken to capitalize on the insights stakeholders and the community paid Garner to provide us? Have the recommendations been taken seriously, and have they been acted upon?
What do you think?