What's missing from our economic development efforts?

Johnson City Press • Jan 8, 2018 at 12:00 AM

Economic development is much like putting together a puzzle. To be successful, all the parts must fit.

Identifying those individual pieces is an important start to completing the puzzle. That is why we are asking readers to tell us what they think are some of the key components that are currently missing or not fully realized in Johnson City/Washington County’s economic development picture.

Having a key piece of the economic puzzle —available land with the needed infrastructure — enabled Washington County to lure two Japanese companies to our region more than a decade ago. In addition to finding land for that purpose, local leaders have been willing to spend the money for the necessary infrastructure. That includes building new roads and improving existing ones.

Another essential part of the economic development puzzle is making sure students are graduating high school with the skills they need to compete in the job market. A workforce that is not prepared to take on real life situations, such as dealing with personal finances or meeting work deadlines, does not inspire confidence in potential employers.

It is also essential that local leaders continue to streamline the way they assemble these pieces of the economic puzzle. That requires changing the way economic development players relate to local businesses and local governments, which has led to the creation Northeast Tennessee Regional Economic Partnership.

Again, we want to hear from you. What do you think are the missing pieces when it comes to improving economic development in Washington County? Send your comments to mailbag@johnsoncitypress.com.

Please include your name, telephone number and address for verification purposes.

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