Siouxland gets economic advice from Iowa cities - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Siouxland gets economic advice from Iowa cities

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -- The Midwest is known for growing crops, but how do you grow companies?

Siouxland communities continue to search for new ways to bring in business. They're even tapping ideas from Newton and Marshalltown, Iowa -- two towns working to lure industry after losing major employers.

For a city to grow and succeed it takes planning, and as it turns out, community planning is a lot like The Game of Life. You can jump right in, spin the wheel and hope for the best or you can take a step back, look at the big picture and come up with a game plan.

That's exactly what the Siouxland region is doing, following in the footsteps of central Iowa with a Regional Innovation Grant. It is a $250,000 grant from the Iowa Department of Labor to find the right balance of elements to create workforce development.

"First of all you have to put a plan together and say, 'This is ultimately what we want to happen,'" said Marshalltown representative Paul Gregoire.

For example, communities need to think of what kind of career cards they want to make available to their residents and what kind of investments they want to make in their future.

"If in fact one of your goals was to bring in more industry into your area, you need to back up and make sure you have the infrastructure there," Gregoire said.

Communities also need to think about what kind of industry they want to attract. Do they want more opportunities for people coming out of high school, or are they looking at opportunities that require a more educated workforce?

And that workforce is going to need places to live and shop. To get all of the elements aligned in the right direction, Gregoire says businesses need to be in on the deal.

"Because business stands to gain the most from this," Gregoire said.

Once a community has their strategic plan in place, they can take the next step and begin to sell all the opportunities their community has to offer.

Gregoire says, "Then you can go out and sell the region as a place that's got solid infrastructure, perhaps solid educational opportunities, nice quality of life for those families that come here, and those kinds of things."

Siouxland is expected to get to the implementation phase of the Regional Innovation Grant later this year.

Online Reporter: Rebecca Sunshine

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