By JENNIFER SHRYOCK
Best Place Project
“Here’s what I hear more than anything from the folks I serve: ‘We live in the best place.’ I agree.” –Missoula Mayor John Engen.
The Best Place Project aims to create 2,500 new primary jobs in the Missoula area, paying a sustainable wage rate of $37,000 annually.
Missoula Economic Partnership
Founding board members formed the Missoula Economic Partnership to execute the goals of the project. Mayor Engen and co-chairman Jeff Fee discussed the project at the City Club Missoula’s March forum. More about City Club Missoula.
Mayor Engen said they initiated the project after asking two questions:
1. What is Missoula’s economic development strategy?
2. Who is in charge of that strategy?
While Missoula is host to a number of economic development and business organizations that meet niche needs in the community and region, no single organization effectively drives the effort to recruit business, retain business, and develop opportunities for businesses in Missoula.
Missoula needs a single, focused organization to guide the recruitment, retention and development effort, much in the way communities large and small around the country have done with success. That organization is the Missoula Economic Partnership. –Best Place Project brochure.
Building a Middle Class
The Mayor spoke about building a Missoula middle class. His shared his belief that the middle class forms the fundamental building blocks of a healthy community. He stated, “When folks are comfortable enough financially, they can make good decisions about community.”
To build a healthier community and expand our middle class, they chose a realistic job creation goal: 2500 new jobs at a salary of $37,000.
How They’ll Create Jobs
To create 2500 jobs, the Project will require $3.2 Million budgeted toward 4 strategies:
1. Support Growth of Existing Business ($1 Million). Existing businesses create 80% of new jobs nationally.
2. Increase Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Small Business Support ($800,000), connecting area entrepreneurs with necessary assets for growth.
3. Attract New Business ($1.2 Million). Attract and recruit new businesses with an emphasis on targeted industry segments that would especially prosper and contribute to the local environment.
4. Investor Relations ($200,000). Hire the professional staff necessary to implement the project and maintain high levels of investor confidence.
One year into its initial five year plan, the Best Place Project has raised 77% of its $3.2 Million goal!
For 2,500 New Jobs, First Fill One Position
The next step for the Project: They are searching, through an outside firm, for the right Executive Director. They hope to fill the position by July 2011.
What Can We Do?
I’ve been following the Best Place Project in the news and have been excited to support an improved economic outlook in our community. After the forum, I spoke with Mayor Engen about how our community members can support the Project. To put people to work, community support is critical. More about Your Part in the Best Place Project.
What do you think about the Best Place Project? Do you have an employment question? Please let me know in the comment section below!
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Jennifer Shryock is a resume writer and interview coach with Rainmaker Resumes. Her blog features Missoula job hunting tips, covering everything from the employer perspective to networking ideas to interview-winning resumes to keeping your sense of humor, whether you’re working or working to find work. For answers, send your work related questions to Jennifer@rainmakerresume.com. Make her blog a regular part of your job search.