Originally Published: September 28, 2016 6:01 a.m.
“Regional Economic Partnership” is a term that Central Arizona Partnership (CAP) has been promoting widely for the last five years and is a function imperative to the success of our region.
According to the Greater Prescott Regional Economic Partnership (GPREP), “it’s when people and organizations come together to help support each other and agree to allocate their time and resources to ensure the region’s economy remains strong and vibrant for future generations.” However, it’s important to understand this goes beyond our local municipalities playing nice with one another.
True Regional Economic Partnership involves our local professionals, businesses and colleges as well as the municipalities. It requires research, planning, and communication between a wide network of organizations, businesses and individuals.
The raw truth is, we have to work together to ensure the lifestyle we love, and continue to promote the privileges of modern healthcare, quality education, jobs that pay a wage and offer benefits that honor its workers and an infrastructure that supports the elderly, active retirees, working families, college and high school graduates alike. A healthy community cannot survive without a robust economy. A robust economy cannot survive without the support of the community.
CAP feels strongly of the need to have a regional approach to economic development for a number of reasons.
A healthy economic base does not focus on one community alone but rather on a broader geographical area that encompasses multiple communities. This regional approach strengthens those communities and forms a financial unity that attracts new businesses and allows existing regional businesses to grow.
Constructing a solid economic base requires responding quickly and knowledgably to business prospect inquiries and forward thinking leadership with innovative ideas to draw in companies that provide well-paying jobs. For example, pro-actively reaching out to businesses that have strong long-term relationships with regional educational institutions like Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Yavapai College or Prescott College; emphasizing the benefits of expanding into a region that offers a steadfast workforce that includes recent college graduates; an exceptionally high quality of life; a mild four-season climate; and an area that’s less costly than large urban areas.
It is the invaluable human network that steps up, speaks up and boldly reaches out in a unified effort that propels the region into a successful balanced economic future. This involves a multitude of local economic development professionals, community partners and business and government leaders who merge their individual talents to create a friendly, approachable resource pool ready, willing and able to work with each other in order to “ensure the region’s economy remains strong and vibrant for future generations.”
Regional Economic Partnership and participation is actively taking place now. Recently our area has been able to attract The Spindle Co., a leading worldwide supplier of hotel signage products. President and CEO Chris Corlett said, “The undertaking of moving a large business to a new area is one that requires intense investigation and effort. After considering locations in Texas, New Mexico, Nevada and other Arizona communities it was the quad-city area sitting at the top of our list. Engaging with the local economic development team helped us sort through the myriad of questions we had about the area. It was through these discussions we learned about the local workforce, strong schools, housing, electricity rates, and real estate. The commitment continued as we began the process of purchasing real estate, started moving people and machines, and looked for new talent. Though our production plant is located in Prescott, we found it was the quad-city area that offered something for everyone. Our employees, many of whom are proud first-time homeowners, call Prescott, Prescott Valley, Chino Valley, and Dewey home. We at The Spindle Co. are happy to have had such a positive experience. Though our businesses had been located in California for 100 years, we are looking forward to working and growing with the local quad-city community for the next 100 years.”
The idea of Regional Economic Partnering is not a new concept. Many areas, both metropolitan and rural, are understanding the need for such an effort. Look no farther than Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) or Economic Collaborative of Northern Arizona (ECoNA). The need and expansion of Regional Economic Partnering is a must for our area. We encourage you and your business to become involved in this effort.
Central Arizona Partnership is a diverse mix of Central Yavapai County business owners, educators, healthcare, civic leaders and business professionals who care deeply about their communities and believe issues related to smart, responsible growth need to be truthfully examined, debated wisely and acted on effectively in order to secure a prosperous future and high quality of life for everyone. For information, visit www.centralazpartnership.org.