The Real Definition of Economic Development
Apr 22, 2010
The personal impact of the work we do in economic development rarely gets noticed. Probably because we get too caught up in defining economic development with demographics, statistics and success measures like jobs and investment.
But when the success story moves beyond the news release, the media attention and web posting on any given project, it’s cool to learn what impact that deal has on someone’s life, their family and overall well-being.
My favorite personal story is of a young lady named Sarah. She’d been a stay-at-home mom until her husband’s work accident forced her to return to the workforce. Sarah and her family needed income, quick. And they needed health benefits and opportunity for professional growth. Sarah and her family found what they needed at a Springfield company the SBDC and its public partners attracted to the community.
She’s never met any of us. And probably never will. But the work our economic development partnership did on that deal made all the difference in the world to Sarah and her family. She said, “The quality of my family’s life is the most important thing to me and this company has allowed me to provide a great life for them!”
The Springfield region is often recognized by national publications and state agencies as a leader in job creation, an area with quality growth and great opportunities in business. That’s all great.
But what’s most rewarding is to drive by an office building or a manufacturing plant and know that the work our public/private partnership in economic development did to get them here is benefiting a mom or a dad, or a sister or brother, who is working inside those four walls to support a family. To me, that’s the real definition of economic development.
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