Economic development and why it matters

Retired CHP officer Erwin Holmes hugs Elyse Taylor, daughter of fallen CHP officer Roger Gore, following a ceremony to rededicate a memorial for the four officers who lost their lives in 1970's Newhall Incident at the California Highway Patrol's Newhall offices on Wednesday, April 5, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

How often do you think about the economic development of the Santa Clarita Valley? Maybe just when an alluring new business opens (Hello, Nordstrom Rack!). But it’s also important for residents to be aware of the importance of economic development – and to understand just what economic development means.

With that in mind, here are three reasons economic development matters, and why you should pay attention to it:

1. Economic development brings better jobs and higher wages

At the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation (SCVEDC), we understand that some industries can be relied on to provide steady, well-paying jobs. That’s why we focus on attracting and expanding companies in our target clusters within those industries (aerospace & defense, biotech & medical devices, advanced manufacturing, digital media & entertainment, and information technology).

In the last year alone, the SCVEDC:
• Assisted 31 companies with attraction/expansion needs
• Impacted 2,197 jobs at new/expanding companies, 73 percent of which were in our target clusters
• Visited 94 local companies to provide business assistance, 84 percent of which were in our target clusters.

A thoughtful and deliberate approach to economic development brings quality jobs in great industries like technology, aerospace and biotech to our community.

2. Economic development brings better infrastructure

Quality jobs and higher wages generate greater tax revenue, which translates to improved public works and other services. The City of Santa Clarita’s leaders have set in motion a plan called “Santa Clarita 2020” that guides the city’s work efforts on six major areas: Public safety, building and creating community, enhancing economic vitality, community beautification, sustaining public infrastructure, and protective, transparent and responsive government services.

3. Economic development can improve your quality of life

Better local jobs mean more opportunities for you to ditch your commute and continue your career closer to home. Imagine the time savings with a local commute! Not only do you have less stress and transportation costs, you can recapture your commute time and dedicate it to your family, your personal health, and improving your overall quality of life. That’s called a win-win.

While most communities have a plan in place for economic development, the SCVEDC has a unique approach in that we rely on a public/private partnership with the city, the County of Los Angeles, College of the Canyons and local business leaders – all of whom serve on our Board of Directors.

These partnerships allow us to comprehensively approach the economic development needs for the entire valley and focus our efforts on the industries that bring our residents quality jobs and increased opportunities – today and in the years to come.

Holly Schroeder is president and CEO of the SCVEDC.

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