Tuesday, March 11, 2008

County Hires Solano EDC For Studies

County Hires Solano EDC For Studies
The Reporter
Article Launched: 03/10/2008

Solano County has awarded a three-year contract to the Solano Economic Development Corporation to create and annually update the first Solano County Index of Economic and Community Progress as well as conduct the in-depth profiles of five Key Industry Clusters.

The Index and Clusters, which target innovation and opportunities, will create a foundation of baseline information that better positions Solano County communities to attract new growth businesses and industries.

"This is a tremendous step forward in Solano County's collaborative effort to assist local communities and businesses in creating a baseline of data that will make future economic development decision making easier," said Scott Reynolds, Solano EDC chairman.

Solano EDC will be working under contract with Doug Henton, president and co-founder of Collaborative Economics. The firm is the originator of the Index of Silicon Valley, which measures the economic strength and health of that community by highlighting challenges and providing an analytical foundation for leadership and decision making.

In the last 15 years, Collaborative Economics has worked with leaders in more than 40 regions to help their communities break from traditions that hold them back and put them on a new pathway to success.

Henton is also a consultant to the California Economic Strategy Panel, California's state economic strategy process linked to innovation, industry clusters and regions.

The three-year $484,500 Solano EDC contract includes the follow components:

• The annual Index includes a unique set of economic, workforce, housing, education, transportation and related indicators that together tell the story of the county and its seven communities' growing role as a regional hub of innovation and opportunity.

• A Land Inventory and Absorption Study will identify all undeveloped parcels in the county that are zoned commercial and industrial. This study will identify the parcel's readiness for development.

• Five key industry profiles will be created over the next three years. Each cluster will provide a focus for meeting the twin challenges of economic growth and workforce investment. A target of opportunity, such as biotechnology industry, can be export-oriented, population-driven, or represent an opportunity with career potential for local residents. This portfolio of clusters will enable the Solano EDC and local economic developers to more successfully target companies for expansion and growth.

Supervisor Michael Reagan, immediate past chairman, said "the commissioning of these reports demonstrates the county's commitment to attracting more quality jobs ... . These tools will be a tremendous asset to the cities in their economic development efforts."

Last year Reagan was the driving force behind the county hosting a series of three summits to formulate a collaborative Solano County economic development vision and find a new role for the county in supporting existing countywide economic development efforts.

Summit participants included local and state government, transportation and water resources, local economic development professionals, business and industry, education, nonprofit groups, and the labor and trades.

"The collaborative leadership of the county cannot be stressed enough," said Michael Ammann, Solano EDC president. "Their support just makes it all come together between local governments and the private sector."

"The Index and Cluster Studies will go a long way toward providing the sorts of information necessary to keep Solano on track with future growth opportunities while keeping Northern California high-growth companies informed about Solano County and opportunities for their future expansion," Ammann added.

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