Jonesboro Unlimited Targets $3.7 Million in Private Funding
Why is Momentum Jonesboro needed?

A generation ago, leaders in Jonesboro, Arkansas leveraged the assets of abundant and inexpensive land, competitive utility rates, and proximity to crop prod ucers to successfully pursue food manufacturers. Today, global companies like Nestle, Frito Lay, Post, and Land O' Lakes represent an industry cluster that provides thousands of jobs and has helped Jonesboro become the hub of northeast Arkansas, with accompanying growth in healthcare, retail, and services.  But decades of reliable employment growth, an expanding public university, and a city owned utility that essentially drove economic development bred a degree of complacency among local business leaders.  Faced with some disturbing data regarding wages and poverty levels, today's business leaders recognized the need to re-engage in the process of economic development.  In 2015, Jonesboro Unlimited embarked on a comprehensive  strategic planning process, which eventually produced three core objectives: 1) Invest in our Product, 2) Tell our Story, and 3) Organize for Action.  This new plan would require a focused and aggressive approach, and substantial new private sector funding to supplement existing public sector funds.  NCDS' 2016 feasibility analysis and goal assessment confirmed that business leaders and stakeholders would support this new plan, and the Momentum Jonesboro campaign was launched in the fall.  A few weeks ago, many of those leaders gathered at Arkansas State University to hear details about the five-year strategies, and learn that 31 companies  had committed
 $2.2 million of the $3.7 million private sector goal (as of 2/10/17, the campaign was at $2.6 million).  Read more about Momentum Jonesboro here.

Workforce Strategies in Action

At last month's IEDC Leadership Conference in Jacksonville, Jeff Finkle's "state of the industry" presentation included the following statistics:
  • In 2016, 53% of economic development organizations increased their efforts in workforce development
  • Lack of skilled labor was cited as the number one challenge facing communities across the U.S.
  • In 2009, only 22% of economic development organizations were focused on workforce development

Clearly, workforce development is no longer a "trend," but a fundamental priority for every organization and every community.  We have raised millions of dollars for workforce strategies ranging from early childhood education to social media platforms aimed at talent attraction.  The following articles show how some of those dollars have been put to use by recent clients, and how workforce needs and tactics can vary from place to place.

NCDS Celebrates 40 Years

In 1977, a young Chamber of Commerce executive named Howard Benson saw a need to help communities raise big money for bold initiatives that couldn't be funded through membership dues, sponsorships, or other traditional sources. He founded NCDS, which has helped establish the multi-year strategic initiative and public-private partnerships  as customary and preferred approaches for community and economic development organizations.  Having raised over $1.7 billion in over 700 campaigns, we take special pride in the small part we've played in helping communities of all sizes create jobs, grow their economies, and enhance their quality of place.  As we look forward to serving future clients, we remain true to our original motto of "Helping build great communities, one campaign at a time."  For a few nuggets of wisdom from 40 years of fundraising, take a look at our latest Proview .
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