WithersRavenel, Jackson County partnership produces roadmap for economic success

WithersRavenel, Jackson County partnership produces roadmap for economic success

Successful and sustainable economic development does not happen in a vacuum. It requires a blend of information gathering, planning, strategy and a lot of collaboration. WithersRavenel is proud to help governments and organizations across North Carolina with economic development plans. Below, WithersRavenel’s Director of Business Strategy and Economic Development Arthur Salido discusses our company’s work with Jackson County on its Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS).

Jackson County’s purpose in seeking an updated economic development strategic plan is to continue to improve the quality of life for its citizens by building a robust and healthy economy that is both diversified and sustainable. The 2020 Jackson County Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) represented a true partnership between WithersRavenel and Jackson County. It was the synthesis of research, conversations, data collected through various in-person and electronic means, and information derived from strategies that were previously developed by Jackson County, the Southwestern Commission Regional Council of Government, other municipalities and communities in Jackson County, and Region A.

The purpose of this CEDS was to build upon previous planning exercises, develop pathways for implementation, and harness the positive momentum that has been occurring in the County for years, not to repeat or redo previous work. The CEDS identified actionable steps to strategically grow businesses, create jobs, increase economic investment, and build a collaborative network to expand economic opportunity and prosperity throughout the County.

The recommendations included in the CEDS directly aligned with and supported the eight economic development goals outlined in the 2017 Comprehensive Plan, thereby leveraging the County’s prior effort, and contributing to its future success. The action items were clear and concise by design and were complemented by straightforward corresponding narratives.

The eight economic development goals are:

  • Maintain a robust and sustainable tourism destination
  • Build a workforce that will meet the needs of current and future employers
  • Improve countywide high-speed broadband availability
  • Create a marketing campaign for the county to support existing business and attract new business
  • Identify investment opportunities to address current and future critical economic needs
  • Commit to becoming an entrepreneurial/small business capital
  • Maintain a comprehensive economic development strategy
  • Maintain and enhance the quality of life for citizens, tourists, and small business owners

As growth continues, Jackson County will need to meet challenges around community needs like affordable housing, broadband and utility infrastructure, workforce development, and job creation. WithersRavenel was deeply honored to partner with Jackson County to prioritize plans for its future. We believe that this CEDS will equip County leadership, regional partners, business owners, and residents with strategies and resources to tackle these issues and to ignite changes that lead to meaningful impacts.

Is your municipality or COG looking to create or update an economic development strategy? Reach out to us, and let’s talk about it. Contact Arthur Salido at (828) 575-9763 or asalido@withersravenel.com.