When asked that question, most people will give you different answers.
From a policy perspective, economic development can be defined as efforts that seek to improve the economic well-being and quality of life for a community by creating and/or retaining jobs and supporting or growing incomes and the tax base.
Easier said than done right? In Montezuma County, there is an organization that focuses on economic development, most commonly known as MCEDA. This includes many different sectors that make up our economic whole, such as education, health care, infrastructure, government policy, businesses, nonprofits, services and population. Each factor affects the overall economic structure of our community.
MCEDA, which stands for Montezuma Community Economic Development Association, is strategically working on helping achieve economic success in this area by thinking outside of the box and using data to give people a clearer picture of our economy. One of the roles of a local economic development organization is to coordinate local efforts with state programs; for example, a rural jump-start program that was launched this year, and an enterprise zone program. In 2014, Osprey Packs received a job growth tax credit of $163,000 from the state enterprise zone program.
Economic data reveal surprising facts about our community.
Industries that provide employment, professional, scientific, management, administrative and waste management services provide the largest number of jobs, at 22.7 percent of the market. Educational, health and social services provide 19.7 percent, and agriculture, forestry, mining, and fishing and hunting provide 16.1 percent.
Data about how people in Montezuma County are paid also reveal that the largest percentage are paid by private wages or salaries, at 53 percent. Government jobs account for 7 percent; self-employed or non-incorporated, 37 percent; and unpaid family work, 4 percent. (Read more: http://www.city-data.com/county/Montezuma_County-CO.html)
As you see, we have a large population of self-employed entrepreneurs. And that is why the broadband initiative (high-speed Internet throughout the county) is so important: Faster Internet means more industry, and business professionals can thrive here and bring more jobs and economic vitality to our region.
This and more data will be discussed at MCEDA’s annual meeting, held noon to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, April 19, at the Dolores Community Center.
MCEDA provides support for new and expanding economic opportunities throughout Montezuma County. Chelsea Jones is MCEDA’s economic development specialist and can be reached at [email protected]