EDC Focused On High-Growth Industries Healthy For Local Economy

Beth Kirkland, CEcD, Executive Director, Economic Development Council

If you talk to anyone involved with eco­nomic develop­ment in our region, the phrase “targeted industry sectors” is certain to be mentioned at some point in the conversation.

And while it may sound like insider jar­gon, it actually is a fun­damental building block for smart, sustainable growth in our area for years to come.

Like a business that markets itself to poten­tial customers with the greatest likelihood for long-term sales, the Economic Development Council of Tallahassee/ Leon County has identi­fied six industry sectors that match the region’s strengths, goals and assets, as well as provide for a diversified and sus­tainable regional econ­omy.

The targeted sectors are Advanced Manufac­turing, Health Sciences & Human Performance Enhancement, Informa­tion Technology, Renew­able Energy and Envi­ronment, Aviation & Aerospace, and Trans­portation & Logistics, as well as the support­ing fields of engineering and research. They were chosen based upon the opportunity for growth, creation of quality jobs at above-average wages, a role in regional devel­opment, and their con­nections to other indus­tries.

Through the EDC’s First Focus on Local Business program, each sector has a cor­responding roundtable that collaborates with local and state organiza­tions to provide business resources and advoca­cy for the sector. In fact, several of the roundta­bles have evolved into independent organiza­tions or chapters of state associations. Through the nurturing of the EDC, they have taken on a life of their own and are having a significant impact in their respec­tive fields.

Being focused on spe­cific sectors also allows the business community, local governments and our outstanding area universities and colleg­es to work together on specific projects and job­training initiatives. It is the cooperation of these entities that makes our efforts successful in helping local businesses expand and attracting innovative companies to our area.

These are not the only kinds of businesses in which we have an inter­est. The EDC regularly assists local firms from a variety of industries with building reloca­tions, securing grants and tax incentives, and developing training pro­grams for their work­force needs. We are a resource for all compa­nies that want to provide good jobs and contribute to the wellbeing of the community.

Another advantage to focusing on high-growth industry sectors is the benefits they provide to the rest of our business community. Every time a local business expands or a company relocates here, jobs are created for people who also eat, shop, need lodging for guests — and pay taxes that support all our criti­cal services.

When business finds success in Tallahassee, we all benefit. And we are working very hard to make sure the business­es in these six targeted sectors lead the way.

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