Last Thursday, the Columbia River Economic Development Council (CREDC) delivered an overview of Clark County’s new Comprehensive Economic Development Plan, followed by a candid discussion with industry professionals about opportunities and challenges facing their businesses. A common theme emerged that was summed up well by panelist Mei Wu, of Smart RG: It’s about talent, talent, and talent. Whether it’s traditional manufacturing, high-tech R&D, or software, businesses are all focused on, and struggling with, attracting and retaining quality employees. The CREDC and its partners will work on a variety of fronts to address this over the life of the new plan.
Educational Partnerships: Much of the panel discussion centered on the relationship between employers and the education community. From early education and our K12 system to our higher education institutions, there is a charge for employers and academics to come together to both help students find their passion, and for employers to meet their staffing needs. While there was mixed opinion on the value employers place on applicants’ grade point averages, the group agreed that a prospective employee’s drive, teamwork, and problem solving skills were essential in today’s workplace. Panelists also highlighted the value that being intentional around diversity can bring to the bottom line and longevity of a company.
Bridging the Gap: While each of the panelists highlighted the individual strengths of Clark County within the region, they also highlighted the importance of being connected. As we build more high-level professional job opportunities in Clark County, we must consider that access to the greater regional job market for employees’ spouses is critical to a solid talent attraction and retention strategies. That means we must support transportation policies that improve multi-modal connections throughout the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) over projects that isolate us from broader opportunities and amenities.
We look forward to continuing to work with a broad range of partners in Clark County and beyond who believe, as we do, that we are in a transformative time. As we build upon the culture, history, and investments that have made this community great, we need your input and engagement to make our combined vision a reality. Find out more about how you can get involved here : http://www.credc.org/strategic-initiatives/