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After yesterday’s employment massacre–more than 70,000 job cuts announced across various U.S. industries–the role of economic development and the importance of economic developers, have reached new heights.
Before slumping my shoulders in response to the crush of job losses, I was emboldened by news out of North Carolina. EDGE4, a five-year economic development program designed to benefit Raleigh, Wake County and the Research Triangle region, announced an ambitious campaign that aims to raise $12 million for local business development and bring a unfathomable (in today’s world) 50,000 jobs to the Triangle.
EDGE4 will host a breakfast tomorrow morning at the Raleigh Convention Center to announce the details of their stimulus program (for more information, contact Vernessa Roberts at 919.664.7080.) EDGE4 Co-Chairs Scott Custer of RBC Bank and Bill Johnson of Progress Energy will discuss the goals of the five-year plan and announce the campaign’s current status. As an American and as a journalist focused on the economy, I am curious to see what innovative ideas are being churned out of the Research Triangle.
This announcement from North Carolina follows a promising plan that came out of Missouri on Friday. Governor Jay Nixon, in his first month at the helm, announced his Show-Me JOBS initiative, a bipartisan effort to move Missourians back into the workforce and support small-business growth. Gov. Nixon signed three executive orders, creating the Missouri Automotive Jobs Task Force, the Governor’s Economic Stimulus Coordination Council, and a $2-million pool of funds for small business loans.
While corporate America and small town businesses alike are struggling, there has never been a more crucial time for our brightest economic minds to continue doing what they do best: creating opportunities.