Economic development, quality of life and workforce
Communities with a higher quality of life experience both higher employment and population growth.
Our region’s elected officials and leaders understand this and have invested in improving the quality of life initiatives, such as trails, arts and culture, and other amenities. Understanding that a vibrant business climate also impacts quality of life is in our wheelhouse at the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance. Having a solid business climate attracts customers, employs residents and gives consumers more choice for buying everything from groceries to furniture, to automobiles to a myriad of ancillary opportunities.
Reliable infrastructure is also a part of maintaining a good quality of life. Infrastructure covers everything from the physical assets like roads and bridges to basic municipal needs like water, electricity, gas and broadband. It also includes services like health care, childcare, educational opportunities, and further amenities that support the workforce, which is also human infrastructure. Economic growth doesn’t happen without serious investments in infrastructure. Without infrastructure support there are no new neighborhoods, shopping areas, office parks or other quality of life support. City and county leaders have understood the importance of and the complexities and have continued to make improvements when needed and have invested and are continuing to invest when needed to support development for the area.
Giving people choices is important to a healthy quality of life. All of the factors mentioned are necessary, however, job fulfillment comes not just from new employees moving to Webster County, but from infilling those jobs from our existing residents. One of the greatest allies of economic development is the education opportunities available. Iowa Central Community College is also a part of our support infrastructure that is invaluable when it comes to offering options for adult learning, workforce education and skills development. The more well-rounded and capable a local workforce is, the more attractive that location is to companies dependent on a trained and available workforce for their viability and success.
What actually is considered quality of life is constantly changing. Decades ago, the internet and access to it would not have been part of the conversation, and now the city of Fort Dodge is preparing to offer broadband as a new utility, understanding the importance access plays when people are looking at relocating, and to offer the citizens of Fort Dodge more choices. With these changes, we also further the need for educational opportunity. Iowa Central again provides those education opportunities and support to our population and future population.
Economic development and quality of life initiatives only happen when collaboration occurs between stakeholders. Fort Dodge, Webster County and we all understand that when one wins, we all win.
Dennis Plautz is the chief executive officer of the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance.