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By Jeff Sprague President Allen Economic Development Group

What is this subject called economic development? During national, state and local elections individuals seeking a specific office campaign on the platform of economic development. We are bombarded with media reports letting us know our economic conditions are trending up, trending down or are flat. Economist track data and generate reports about the national economy. Most communities have someone hired to deal with economic development.

Wikipedia defines economic development as “the sustained, concerted actions of policy makers and communities that promote the standard of living and economic health of a specific area. Economic development can also be referred to as the quantitative and qualitative changes in the economy. Such actions can involve multiple areas including development of human capital, critical infrastructure, regional competitiveness, environmental sustainability, social inclusion, health, safety, literacy, and other initiatives.

Real_American_StrengthIn Allen County, Ohio the Allen Economic Development Group is the lead organization that handles economic development activity. The Allen Economic Development Group (AEDG) is a public/private partnership formed in 1993 to act as a facilitator for countywide economic development. The mission statement of AEDG is as follows: It is the mission of the Allen Economic Development Group to create an environment for new business development, to promote and nurture existing business and to facilitate the creation of new jobs in Allen County.

The definition by Wikipedia and framework for AEDG are in alignment, but, how is success or failure determined? The Allen Economic Development Group is governed by a board represented by the leadership of Allen County. The board oversees the goals and objectives outlined by the organization. AEDG has three specific goals:

1. Industrial Sites and Physical Infrastructure – to have an inventory of Shovel-Ready Sites in Allen County.

2. Job Creation/Retention – attract, expand and retain jobs with an emphasis on industries that provide above average wages.

3. Workforce – improve the skill level and health of Allen County’s workforce.

Over the coming months, the Allen Economic Development Group goals will be examined and compared to how Allen County is competing for jobs globally.