Economic Development in Today’s World

A few weeks ago I was fortunate to get to go to my second class of Chamber Management Institute, which is an educational program put on by the State Chamber of Commerce.

This month in class we talked about Economic Development and how to implement it into our individual communities.  This topic was something I found of great interest, seeing how Frederick is always eager for more development.

It was interesting to learn how Economic Development strategies have changed over the years.  Several decades ago all it took to get a new business in town was a group of investors willing to fly across the country to meet with the potential business.

Unfortunately, times have changed and thanks to the mobility of society and the advancement of technology, businesses are no longer motivated by a simple visit.  Today’s businesses go where the workforce lives.  Again, several decades ago the workforce would be in a permanent location by age 25, but today’s workforce is much more mobile and unsettled.

Who is this workforce the businesses are targeting?  Well, they are my piers: the millennials.  Millennials are known for picking their destination before they pick their job.  In other words, we’d rather live somewhere cool and then find a job than find a job and live somewhere lame.

All this to say, Economic Development is now more about placemaking than it is recruitment.  We must create a community that is desirable and fun to live in; thus attracting the millennial workforce and consequently attracting new businesses.

So how do you make a community awesome?  We’re still working on that recipe, but I’d say a huge chunk of friendly neighbors, mixed with some great events and topped off with a great school system and community support.  Keep sweetening the pie, Frederick, and we will get there!