County-wide economic development strategic plan unveiled

The Columbia River Economic Development Council (CREDC) has been presented the final draft of the first Clark County-wide comprehensive strategic plan for economic development from TIP Strategies – an Austin-based consulting firm hired by the CREDC late last year.

The draft, revealed this morning during a CREDC Board of Directors meeting, lays out a work plan for the county that consists of both short-term and long-term initiatives with the overall goal of positioning Clark County for long-term economic vitality.

In a summary of the report, TIP said its recommendations are “the result of an eight-month process incorporating input and ideas from key stakeholders and organizations.”

Five goals for Clark County outlined in the economic strategic plan include:

Information technology – establish Clark County as a regional center of growth and innovation in the information technology sector.

Higher education – greatly expand the economic development influence of WSU Vancouver and Clark College.

International investment – make Clark County a hub for international investment in the Pacific Northwest.

Business development – enhance business vitality through targeted recruitment, expansion and entrepreneurship efforts.

Infrastructure – invest in the infrastructure and amenities needed to attract new businesses and talent.

Additionally, the draft suggests specific metrics to evaluate the success of the plan over time, moving away from simply measuring total jobs created. Those metrics include increased value of developed land, number of businesses formed or attracted to the region in targeted sectors and the number of adults over 25 with associates, undergraduate and post-graduate degrees.

“Along with more traditional measurements of number of jobs created, average and household income we will have the means to make our efforts purposeful, relevant and are more likely to create vitality and prosperity across the county,” said Barbara Bushell, chair of the Steering Committee and immediate past chair of the CREDC board, in a press release.

Eric Fuller, chair of the CREDC board, added, “Clearly there is a significant amount of work outlined in this plan, but it is the road map the county needs to create the economic vitality that will distinguish Clark County from the rest of the region over time.”

Each member of the CREDC board has been asked by the Strategy Steering Committee to review the final draft over the next four weeks with their respective organizations, both public and private. The board will be asked to officially accept the strategic plan – Clark County’s first in nearly a decade – at a board meeting in July.

Click here to read the final draft of TIP’s Clark County strategic plan.

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