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Region’s Economic Development Goals Chosen To Maximize Growth, Address Challenges

This column was originally published in the San Marcos Daily Record on March 31, 2021.

With Amazon announcing the largest industrial facility ever in our region and the successful Get HIRED! Job & Education Fair helping displaced workers find new jobs or training across the region, March closed as a great example of what happens when you have purposeful economic development.
 
Our mission at the Greater San Marcos Partnership (GSMP) is to enhance the quality of life for ALL our residents by attracting and retaining employers that provide good-paying jobs and benefits, and in my opinion, these types of success stories are prime examples of how a win for one community is a win for all communities in Hays and Caldwell counties.
 
This same philosophy is woven into our region’s economic development strategy – Vision 2025. 
 
Developed with input and direction from stakeholders representing communities from our region, Vision 2025 has four core goals: support quality employment growth; optimize the local talent base; accommodate and manage quality growth; enhance community appeal. Each are championed by a workgroup of the same name.
 
But why these four specific goals?
 
It should be of no surprise that like the strategy as a whole, the four goals were purposely selected based on data trends, regional research, public input, and feedback from the various Vision 2025 committees (steering and technical advisory).
 
As a part of the strategy development process, the Greater San Marcos Partnership (GSMP) commissioned a regional assessment by Market Street Services to study the region’s strengths, weaknesses, challenges and opportunities. That assessment took into account the previous five-year economic development strategy, Vision 2020, COVID-19 and took proper adjustments to reflect the changes in our economic landscape.
 
Summarily, the assessment examined the public input provided by both residents and businesses in the region, as well as in-depth analysis of data covering trends and attributes from demographic, socioeconomic, economic, and quality of life factors. 
 
The assessment showed that the Greater San Marcos region scored high on education, population growth and workforce competitiveness. Additionally, the region scored well in innovation, entrepreneurship, and business climate. With an ideal location and growing economy, the region has a competitive advantage for future economic opportunities.
 
While we are blessed with a region capable of economic growth, we must be strategic in addressing the challenges that come along with that growth. According to the assessment, key items for the region to focus on include transportation and mobility improvements, housing affordability, attraction of employers, and increasing wages.
 
Challenges include bringing major employers closer to Hays and Caldwell Counties. Data shows that many residents (roughly half) are leaving the area for work elsewhere (primarily Austin and San Antonio), which results in longer commute times.
 
The best way to keep talent within the region is to provide more opportunity in Hays and Caldwell Counties by attracting new employers/businesses, fostering entrepreneurship, and assisting existing businesses expand their operations. The four goals specifically take aim at maximizing our ability to accomplish these objectives.
 
Partnerships across the region will be key to continuing our success in the Texas Innovation Corridor. We are stronger as a region when we leverage the diversity and assets from ALL of our city communities. As we work together on the four goals of Vision 2025 with focused and consistent efforts, we will improve our economy and enhance the quality of life for our residents.
 
If you have questions about Vision 2025, the assessment that guided the goals set by the strategy, please contact me at jasong@greatersanmarcostx.com or Twitter at @JasonGiulietti. All of our Vision 2025 documents, including our regional assessment and a detailed narrative about our Vision 2025 goals, are available on our website at greatersanmarcostx.com/vision2025.
COVID-19 RESOURCES: Find regional resources and updates for businesses here. Go To Info