It has been two and a half years since the board of Hancock County Economic Development Corporation (HCEDC) committed to a full time executive director for their organization. I was excited and scared at the same time. Like most people I knew economic development was important to rural communities but I never really knew what happened behind the scenes.
Every organization has to have goals. Hancock County Economic Development focuses on goals that may vary from year to year but essentially the can by grouped into 5 goals; Business Retention, New Business Attraction, Workforce Development, Marketing, and Training and Resources.
Retaining our current businesses in Hancock County is important. HCEDC works on building a solid relationships, regularly collecting data on both the company and industry, assisting the company in solving problems that may cause them to move or close or work with businesses by assist in looking for opportunities to grow the businesses in their communities. I have had the opportunity to work with businesses in succession planning, moving into larger buildings and sometimes even working with State regulatory officials or representatives to help communicate challenges that our businesses in Hancock County are facing in effort to assist in moving forward.
New Business Attraction is a dependent for a community’s economic health and on the number and quality of jobs provided by employers in the community. Good jobs keep residents living in rural towns. Jobs allow residents to purchase property and pay property taxes and sales taxes. HCEDC works closely with our Hancock County Communities to research and attract potential businesses that would be a good fit for the County. Working with entrepreneurs, recruiting business types and responding to inquiries by businesses or state officials happens more often than people realize. Christensen Farms Industrial Truck Wash Facility in Garner is a great example of working closely with a company to bring a potential of a potential taxable value of $1.78 million.
Who wouldn’t want to live in a great place like Hancock County? Attracting population to small rural communities can be a challenge as most people prefer to settle in larger cities. However, Hancock County can attract and retain population by promoting the benefits of living and working in smaller communities. Marketing our County as a great place to live and work has been something Hancock County Economic Development has hit extra hard in 2017. HCEDC has run TV ads, Banner Ads, Social Media, Radio Marketing and Newspaper in efforts to spread the word. Check out www.gotjobs.work website created to make potential workers aware of jobs by each Hancock County community. I have found the best resource to attract people to our area is the people that already live here. Help our County by telling your friends and relatives that Hancock County is the place to live, work and play!
If I could say in a word to Describe Economic Development I would say “RESOURCE”. Partnerships are key components to success of rural Iowa communities and Hancock County has some great partners and training opportunities that we take advantage of every day. We have great utility, financial, community leaders and educational partners play a huge part in developing and maintaining businesses and offering resources to our communities. HCEDC knows and keeps in constant contact with our partners.
Check out our website at www.hancockcountyiowa.com and our Facebook page. Next month I will fill you in on some of the economic development activities going on in Hancock County.