When we say we need more economic development, that’s just sort of a bureaucratic way of saying we need more jobs.
It’s kind of like a statement we heard on a TV show recently, where a boss told an employee, “When someone comes into the hardware store looking for a quarter-inch drill bit, what they’re saying isn’t that they need a drill bit. What they’re really saying is that they need a quarter-inch hole.”
And, as anyone involved in economic and community development knows, the goal is to create new jobs (preferably ones that provide living wages) at least as fast as the old jobs are slipping away.
Losing jobs — and not having enough new ones to replace them — will eventually spell death for a community, so it’s not only prudent to focus on job recruitment, it’s an absolute necessity to ensure survival.
And when we engage in economic development activities, sometimes we must put city, county and state borders aside and concentrate on the region as a whole.
That’s the message that about 20 community and business leaders from both of the Bristols; Sullivan County, Tennessee; and Washington County, Virginia, heard last week during a forum at the Bristol Chamber of Commerce. The speaker was Mac Holladay, founder and CEO of Market Street Services, an Atlanta-based economic and community development consulting firm.
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