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Back You are here: Home News Local and State News State N.C. Economic Development Board Releases Strategic Plan

N.C. Economic Development Board Releases Strategic Plan

RALEIGH, N.C. : January 24, 2014 - The North Carolina Economic Development Board approved a 10-year strategic plan today that is designed to serve as a guide for economic growth and activities across the state.
“I want to thank John Lassiter, Jim Whitehurst and the rest of the Economic Development Board members for their hard work,” said Governor Pat McCrory. “I asked
the board to come up with a strategic plan that will direct our efforts at the state level and enable our state and local leaders to coordinate efforts to create jobs and improve the lives of all North Carolinians.  We need to make the best use of our economic development resources as we continue our Carolina Comeback.”
The Economic Development Board has been meeting since July 2013 in various work groups to develop the strategic plan.   In addition, N.C. Commerce Secretary Decker conducted a Listening Tour across the state and gathered input from more than 2,000 economic development professionals, business leaders and citizens through surveys and town meetings.
‘What’s presented today is the outcome of six months of hard work by government and business leaders who were all working toward the same goal of improving our economy and creating jobs for North Carolinians,” said John Lassiter, Chair of the EDB and President of Carolina Legal Staffing. “I want to thank all of our board members and Commerce staff that worked so diligently on this important effort.”
“We appreciate the trust and confidence the governor placed in us when we began this process,” said Jim Whitehurst, Vice-Chair of EDB and CEO of Red Hat. “We’re honored to present this report today and know it will serve as a roadmap for all economic growth, job creation and other related activities moving forward for the next ten years.”
The plan includes recommendations in the following areas:
• Targeted Clusters and Branding: North Carolina should nurture high-performing industries that have already committed to the state and focus on industry
clusters that match the existing workforce with high return rates. The state should also develop an overarching brand for its products.
• Business Climate: Efforts are needed to measure and promote the improving tax climate in the state for relocating businesses. Broad scale regulatory reform can strengthen our competitive advantage and the creation of the ‘Office of Regulatory Reduction and Review’ can review outdated and redundant regulations that serve as a barrier to job creation and capital investments. Incentives play a role in competing across the nation but each tool must have a true return on the investment of public funds. The Business Courts should be expanded to speed up costly litigation and reduce time-consuming appeals.
• Innovation and Entrepreneurship: North Carolina’s colleges and universities need to become hubs for transferring technology and research to startup enterprises and commercial use. Tax credits are critical to encourage broad venture capital investment and small business services must be streamlined for easy access, providing one-stop services for information and resources.
• Talent and Retiree Attraction: North Carolina must establish its reputation as a destination for the creative class. University and community college curriculums need to be realigned to deliver the trained workforce required to support these new businesses. Retirees and second-career entrepreneurs should be recruited as they approach retirement and best practices will be shared between communities that can attract this talent pool. Similarly, North Carolina can lead the nation in attracting and retaining military retirees and returning veterans. This highly skilled and trained workforce has experience in advanced manufacturing and capacity for innovation.
• Education and Workforce Development: Our state can create a competitive advantage by enhancing Career and Technical Education with focus on STEM training for industry clusters like manufacturing, IT, Health Sciences and Agribusiness. Workforce development programs must integrate with secondary school curriculums and career development pathways.
• Rural Prosperity: Last mile broadband along with market connectivity between port, rail and highways can shrink the gap between rural and urban economic growth. Efforts to complete the supply chain between commodity production and a renewed effort toward energy exploration and generation will be job generators for the long term. Rural tourism and focus on “Micropolitan” regions will drive an inventory of assets and gap analysis.
• Community Development: The Block Grant program needs to be realigned to work in unison with the economic development initiatives and the current tier system needs review to maximize return on investment and allow streamlined efforts in areas of poverty within prosperous regions.
Seed capital strategies can create partnerships for development of manufacturing and distribution facilities. Main Street efforts to rehabilitate buildings in smaller towns and programmatic sharing can strengthen the tools needed for a return on investment.
• Delivery of Services and Metrics: Though final metrics will depend on the elements of plan implantation; benchmarking net job growth, success in retention and recruiting and monitoring the outcomes for state and local investment are examples of the key methodology. Co-location of state resources by prosperity zones will speed up the delivery and access to business developers, planners and agencies like DOT and DENR critical for permit approvals.
The next steps for the plan include the development of an action matrix that will assign responsibility, estimate resource needs, build a timeline and define the metrics of success. The strategic plan will serve as the road map for the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, the Department of Commerce and the wide array of partners in the state focused on job creation and economic growth.
The full report can be accessed online at: http://www.nccommerce.com/Portals/0/Documents/AboutOurDepartment/BoardsCommissions/NC%20Jobs%20Plan%20Report_Final.pdf
Source: North Carolina Department of Commerce.