Yakima County Development Association - Lessons from the Recession

Jonathan Smith

The President’s Pen is a weekly blog written by Jonathan Smith, New Vision’s President and CEO about local economic development projects and initiatives. It also covers economic trends, workforce issues, business climate policies, and manufacturing news. 



Lessons from the Recession

Lessons from the Recession

March 30, 2012


At our annual meeting last week I relayed my belief that we are bouncing back from a difficult recession.  Like many people I have never seen tough times like the years we have just come through. The challenges we have faced have brought home several lessons about economic development.

First the game has changed.  Recruiting new industry is important but it is no longer the be all end all of economic development.  The smartest communities, ours included, are putting more emphasis on growing local jobs through entrepreneurship and local industry assistance.

Second, we have realized that being in a slower growing area can have its advantages.  The recession has been relatively easy for us compared to experiences in boom towns Las Vegas, Bend, and Boise.
Exporting matters like never before.  Evidence clearly shows that  companies serving foreign markets have weathered the recession better than their counterparts.  With 95 percent of consumers now living outside the United States, international business will clearly be more important to our community's health than ever before.

Educational attainment will be the key to realizing our region’s long term economic opportunities.  It is great to help local employers attract new talented people to our community BUT we must do more to develop this talent locally.  As our economy rebounds and our baby boomer generation continues to retire, we have enormous opportunities to realize economic progress through education.  We must all find ways to support and help our local schools improve.  The stakes are high, and the consequences are not pretty if we fail.

And finally we need to keep the faith.  Our collective actions can make a difference and there is light at the end of the tunnel.  Your faith in New Vision certainly gives us the confidence to lead our Valley’s economic revitalization efforts.  And we thank you for your ongoing support.

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"It makes it extremely easy to recruit & sustain our workers with the quality of life and support of the business community." - Bill Bushbaum, Vice President, Amtech Corporation