EDAWN decides to fund regional report

To some, it's just another economic development report. But to Chuck Alvey, president of the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada, the Target Industry and Skill Set Project will ensure that the area grows the right industries.

"I think by controlling our own destiny in building the right kind of companies we'll actually have a positive impact on the quality of life here," he said Thursday.

And that means a Carson City resident will have the option of pursuing a job that is well-paying, provides benefits and does not stress the city's existing infrastructure.

EDAWN, which could pay as much as $200,000 for the study, is looking at the final proposals from companies that do this type of assessment. It will do final interviews this month then select the company that will assess the entire region and give the development authority feedback on the area's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

The assessment will tell EDAWN the ideal industries that suit western Nevada. Alvey has been wanting to conduct an assessment such as this for the last five years. If everything goes according to schedule, he'll have a strategic plan to role out by next spring. The assessment alone could take about six months.

Alvey said the company could also recommend workers' skill sets that would grow or attract this type of industry to the area. Officials can then approach the university system and school district and advocate for classes that teach those skills.

"What that will do is help us train those who can work in those types of industries," Alvey said.

Carson City, for example, has more manufacturing jobs per capita than any other city in the state.

"Nevada is one of only two states in the last two years to create manufacturing job growth," he said. "Everybody else has lost. The reason we think for that is that we're getting the small- and mid-size manufacturers because California has so many and they can't afford the workers' compensation rates there. And it's not a good economy scale for them (mid-size manufacturers) to outsource to Asia or other countries. So they come here."

Carson City Supervisor Robin Williamson said a plan such as this one is welcome news.

"I know that I've seen similar assessments done on our needs from UNR and this will certainly build on that," she said. "We're constantly getting inquiries from businesses wanting to come to the area. That assessment will see if we're a good fit for what their needs are."

- Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at bbosshart@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1212.


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