February 2019
Skills, Skills, and More Skills:  Why Today's Economy is Turning Economic Developers into Skills Promoters
By Chris Engle, Principal

Across the country, economic developers grapple every day with the challenge of convincing people to stay in their community, relocate, or develop themselves into the workers our companies need. With today's unemployment rate at its lowest in decades, retain/attract strategies can feel like a zero-sum game, that my win is your loss. Companies too bristle at the high rates of churn they see in the local workforce. More must be done to increase the size of the workforce pie.

Avalanche’s ED Index Results Are In: 
The Battle for Talent Continues in 2019
The results from our 2019 Economic Development Index are in and once again, workforce availability is the leading contributor to sleepless nights among economic developers. In fact, over the past year, 93% of the 110 ED Index participants believe the availability of skilled labor has become more important in the site selection process.  As the battle for talent wages on, we see communities becoming increasingly creative in their approach to fill local talent pipelines. 

Celebrating our Clients
A Whole New Level of Research at A-State - Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, AR just received a new designation as a "Doctoral University: High Research Activity", making the university even more attractive to researchers, faculty, and students. Arkansas State University is home to the Arkansas Biosciences Institute which has conducted over $100 million worth of research since opening in 2003.

The Pfab Pfour: How a quartet of leaders is transforming Pflugerville into an economic juggernaut - This Site Selection article celebrates Pflugerville's leadership, including the Pflugerville Community Development Corporation 's Executive Director Amy Madison. Pflugerville's economic success is all because of its strong leadership and their ability to work with each other to improve the community's economy.

How Chattanooga Attracted Gary Vaynerchuk, Steve Case and $2 Billion in Startup Exits - Chattanooga, TN has become a hub for tech startups and other entrepreneurial activity because of its ambitious internet infrastructure, great entrepreneurship community, and abundance of resources for new companies.

Google to go ahead with $600 million data center in New Albany - Google recently announced that it plans to build another data center in Ohio, specifically in New Albany in the Columbus region . The data center will be a $600 million investment in the region.

15 Sonoma County businesses sign on to coalition for housing construction - Employers are coming together in Sonoma County, CA to address the critical issue of housing. As part of our Strategic Sonoma Strategy the County convened an Employer Housing Council with over 15 major employers to promote the County's goal of creating 30,000 housing units by 2025.
Avalanche in Action
This month, Avalanche Vice President Tony DeLisi attended the inaugural State of the Economy event in Amarillo, TX. Hosted by the Amarillo EDC , the event brought together a variety of stakeholders to discuss the future of Amarillo's economy. Tony discussed Align Amarillo, the economic development strategy we prepared for Amarillo in 2016, and how the community has grown since implementing the plan.

Noelle, Jennifer, and Amy traveled to Columbia to lead workshops on the Synergy Central SC economic development strategy. More than 50 regional leaders came together to establish strategic priorities and discuss target industries. Thanks to the Central SC Alliance for hosting such a productive visit!
The Future Of Featured Post: Going High and Low (Tech) for Community Input
The planning process for every new community initiative or strategy should include an intentional plan for engaging with constituents. While technology has made it easier to reach the masses, it often precludes participation from pockets of the community whose perspectives and needs are just as vital to the process. Read how Detroit’s Office of Sustainability is going high and low (tech) to ensure the voices of all its citizens are heard. Read the full post
Avalanche's curated news website, The Future Of, shares what we see as the most relevant news to our profession with YOU. The Future Of is designed for busy thought leaders and change makers in our field who are continuously curious but do not have enough time to cull through messy mass media to find meaningful news. Contact us for subscription information.
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Avalanche Consulting: Research, Marketing, Strategy
Avalanche Consulting   is the nation's premier economic development strategist. We are the best in the business at translating complex information into strategies, marketing messages, and motivation for action. We are deeply driven to make a positive impact and seek clients who are equally inspired to energize their economies. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Avalanche was established in 2005 and has assisted more than 150 communities across the US and abroad. 
Headlight Illuminates Data on Your Community
Headlight Data   is Avalanche's award-winning online data system that enables economic and workforce development organizations to produce data-intensive websites on their region's economy and workforce, allowing them to better serve prospects, site selectors, and their community. Data can be aggregated into one central website or embedded into your organization's existing website.

Avalanche Consulting, Inc. | (512) 917-3815 |
amy@avalancheconsulting.com | www.avalancheconsulting.com