Chamber News

Economic Development Strategy Kicks-Off
Published: Monday, September 16, 2019
By: David Minton, 2019 Chamber Chairman

As a community, it is always important to take time to look at the big picture. Sometimes being able to have that kind of insight can significantly influence the path you choose to take.

As some readers may know, the Chamber has been in search of additional funding sources to assist in leading economic development efforts in Jefferson City. After many Board discussions, we have taken our first step, hiring an economic development consulting firm to assess the needs of our community. This is their perspective of our community:

“Jefferson City is located in a prime geographical area between St. Louis, Kansas City. Considering the City’s location as the state capital along with major employers and solid post-secondary institutions, it has the opportunity to take full advantage to grow and thrive economically. However, under unforeseeable circumstances, the City has not grown in population since 2010. …To make matters worse, the City was hit with a major tornado leaving behind devastation to some of its citizens and employers.”

Market Street Services, Inc., Atlanta, GA

The first step in the process is forming a Steering Committee of 20-25 individuals who collectively represent the interests of the community. Committee members will include representatives from major employers, educational facilities, non-profits, elected officials and partners from key organizations. The committee will include a good balance of individuals in terms of geographic representation, generational and other demographic dynamics. The responsibilities of the Steering Committee will be to put the community’s needs ahead of any other interests, attend all committee meetings, make decisions throughout the process, and keep the big picture within focus.

To ensure that our economic development strategy is based on evidence, we will get an in-depth evaluation of the community’s issues and opportunities. Using public data, interviews, focus groups and online surveys, Market Street Services, Inc. will identify the key issues facing the community and the implications of those issues in terms of the community’s future competitiveness and its strategic direction.  The data gathered in Jefferson City will then be benchmarked against three other communities with which the area competes for jobs and talent.

Once a consensus has been reached on the strategic implications of the research findings, work can begin on the Community and Economic Development Strategy. To do this a comprehensive review of all economic development organizations – the City, Chamber, and CVB, amongst others – will be received to see where a new organization can be developed to fill any community needs.

Implementation of the Community and Economic Development Strategy is where the real work begins. Roles and responsibilities will be assigned between the parties involved, costs will be identified closing any gaps between existing and necessary funding, and performance measurements will be determined.

 We are excited to kick off this strategy and we look forward to getting your input!  Our first steering committee meeting will occur this week and I personally want to thank all the Steering Committee members that are volunteering their time to this important initiative. We are proud of our city and are ready to roll up our sleeves and put the work in to make it an even greater community.

Project timeline
September 2019         Steering Committee Meeting #1: Project kickoff and input
                                          Stakeholder input sessions (interviews and focus groups)
November 2019          Steering Committee Meeting #2: Community Assessment & Competitive
December 2019          Steering Committee Meeting #3: Community and Economic Development
                                          Strategy (draft)
January 2020                Steering Committee Meeting #4: Economic Development Strategy (final) and
                                          Organizational Assessment
March 2020                   Steering Committee Meeting #5: Implementation Plan (draft)
March 2020                   Electronic Delivery of final implementation plan

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