Great Northwest Florida announces strategies

Florida’s Great Northwest held its Regional Economic Transformation Implementation launch this morning and released its report on a unified vision for future economic development in the Panhandle: “Northwest Florida Forward: A Regional Strategy for Economic Transformation.”

“Our region took a punch to the gut when the BP oil spill put the brakes to our economic progress, but this strategy points the way forward as we reinforce our strengths and build new areas for success,” said Rick Byars, Board Chairman for Florida’s Great Northwest and Gulf Power’s Community and Economic Development General Manager.

“This plan shows how we can work together to create jobs, training, and opportunities for all our residents.”

Five key strategies released in the press announcement:

1. Creating a regional workforce by training prospective employees to meet the needs of Northwest Florida employers; leveraging military talent in the area; and establishing employer-driven workforce training for students and adults.

2. Boosting the growth of key industry clusters, like aerospace and defense, financial services, water transportation, cybersecurity, and advanced manufacturing, and promoting Northwest Florida’s industry and workforce competitiveness.

3. Collaborating across the region to address shared infrastructure needs and develop sites, particularly in rural areas, to accommodate business expansions and relocations.

4.Developing the region’s entrepreneurial hubs and connect them with industry clusters and networks, as well as establish commercialization tools and programs.

5. Encouraging vibrant downtown areas and new town centers, promoting mixed-use developments, and investing in amenities and infrastructure in underserved communities.

Five councils–talent, business vitality, infrastructure, entrepreneurship and innovation, and quality of life- led by business leaders will guide implementation of the strategy.

“We designed this regional strategy to be a framework for prioritizing projects so everyone in Northwest Florida benefits,” Chairman Byars said. “This plan underscores the importance of a regional approach to build a diverse and vibrant regional economy now and for generations to come.”

See plan –