National Economic Development Week kicks off

Partnership News & Views

Amy Clickner

It is coincidence that my column appears in today’s paper as it is the kickoff of National Economic Development Week.

Created by the International Economic Development Council, and inspired by IEDC’s Immediate Past Chair, Barry Matherly, CEcD FM, president and CEO, Greater Richmond Partnership, Inc., the goal of Economic Development Week is to increase awareness for local programs that create jobs, advance career development opportunities and increase the quality of life. EDW is a great way to take a moment to celebrate the achievements within the economic development profession and what is happening in your local economic development organization.

The IEDC is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization serving economic developers. With more than 4,500 members, IEDC is the largest organization of its kind. Currently, I am serving my second term as a board member and chairperson of their Economic Development Research Partners program. The connections we have made by engaging with colleagues from across the globe have proved invaluable.

At the LSCP, we also rely on the IEDC for much of our professional development and training. We are an Accredited Economic Development Organization through the IEDC, the only one in Upper Michigan and one of three in the state. Caralee Swanberg and I have both completed our CEcD or economic development certification that requires years of experience, specific coursework and a rigorous exam process that includes both written and oral portions. In order to remain certified we must apply for recertification every three years proving we continue to keep up with the ever changing industry through various professional and personal development opportunities.

At the LSCP, we work with many clients each year from all industries and stages of business. From start up to succession planning, our staff has the knowledge and experience to assist you with your everyday challenges and opportunities. Our business development team believes in “life cycle” economic development, in other words, being a part of the company’s team from beginning, or when we engage, to succession. We strive to build a solid relationship with each client so they will turn to us when in need of economic development services.

So really, what is an economic developer anyway you might ask? Economic developers are charged with generating economic growth, creating better jobs for residents and facilitating an improved quality of life. The industry remains as complex, challenging and rewarding as ever. I got into economic development by accident. I spent many years as a Chamber of Commerce board member and even President. I had always said I would love to get paid for the work I so much enjoyed doing as a volunteer and 19 years ago I was granted that wish.

Many of you have heard me ask the question “whose responsibility is it to fund economic development?” My answer has always been “all of ours.” If your region’s economic development efforts are successful and truly generating wealth, all will win. So working together as a region toward a common goal, as effective and efficiently as possible, is simply good policy.

Interested in learning more about economic development? On May 23 at 10 a.m. I will be hosting a webinar, Economic Development 411. Learn how economic development impacts our community, gain a better understanding of business attraction, entrepreneurship and retention/expansion of businesses as well as resources available. Visit www.marquette.org to register.

Editor’s NOTE: Amy Clickner is CEO of the Lake Superior Community Partnership. Her twice-monthly column will address topics of interest to the local business community.