After getting the ball rolling in 2013, the Mayor’s Economic Task Force will continue working together in 2014 to help find solutions to improving the local economy while bringing new businesses to Turlock.
On Tuesday, the 25-member committee will review reports from the three subgroups focusing on business attraction, business retention and expansion, and marketing.
During its Dec. 3 meeting, the task force highlighted the 2003 Economic Development Strategic Plan and the updated Economic Development section of the City’s General Plan while reviewing the ongoing need for vocational training within the education system to produce an increase in qualified labor workers for industries such as agriculture, construction and processing plants.
Made up of several business owners and stakeholders in various local industries, the task force has spent time discussing how their respective industries have been recovering since the economic recession that hit the nation in 2008. The committee, chaired by Turlock Chamber of Commerce CEO and President Sharon Silva, will continue discussions throughout 2014 before presenting a final economic plan before the City Council in late September.
The Business Attraction subgroup highlighted the new Blue Diamond facility as an excellent example of the “new” Turlock, as the City hopes to bring in several new companies looking to locate at the shovel-ready Turlock Regional Industrial Park. With a goal of promoting growth while maintaining a high quality of life, the Business Attraction subgroup is dedicated to seeking out and developing new incentives and tools while exploring the formation of a city-level Economic Development Corporation. Although the subgroup recognized that the past reputation of Turlock being difficult to do business with is still widely perceived in the local business community, they hope to market the City’s expedited processes as “time cost” savings alongside a “fast-track” process to get permits.
The Business Retention and Expansion subgroup identified a lack of direct input from business leaders in agriculture, manufacturing and logistics as a weakness to the City currently, suggesting the need for a survey of such leaders to collect input while identifying any workforce challenges that existing businesses face. The group also believes that developing a more concrete relationship with California State University, Stanislaus could provide opportunities such as internship programs for new and existing businesses, and hopes to expand industries such as hospitality and leisure.
With a focus on promoting Turlock, the Business Marketing sub-committee found that Turlock should focus on resources while utilizing opportunities such as social media and the local university to attract new businesses.
During the meeting, each subgroup will continue to discuss the strengths and weaknesses currently facing Turlock with respect to their group’s focus.
The Mayor’s Economic Development Task Force meeting will begin at 4 p.m. on Tuesday at City Hall, located at 156 S. Broadway.