Economic development helps to build our economy and works to improve well-being and enhance quality of life for communities across the nation

Economic development explained: what it means and why it matters

Published: 05/07/2018
Updated: 02/28/2022

It’s National Economic Development Week and Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) is excited to team up with local community leaders to celebrate this profession and the positive impact that economic development has on the Greater Phoenix region.

Today, economic development helps to build our economy and works to improve well-being and enhance quality of life for communities across the nation. So how is economic development defined? According to International Economic Development Council (IEDC), it is a set of programs, policies and activities that seek to create and retain jobs and ultimately facilitate economic growth.

While economic development plays a huge role in today’s economy, GPEC’s impact can also be felt in other ways across the entire fabric of our region. In honor of National Economic Development Week, they are highlighting three areas where the effects economic development can be seen.

Create jobs through local programs
Since 1989, GPEC has achieved an economically sound region by attracting 749 businesses, resulting in 133,000+ jobs and $14.8B in capital investment. In fact, because of our commitment to our mission, strong partnerships with business and community leaders and excellence in operation, GPEC was awarded the 2017 and 2018 Mac Conway Awards by Site Selection. With more than 4,500 economic development organizations nationwide, we’re honored to be ranked in the top of our field nationally.

Capital investment is considered to be a very important measure of the health of the economy. When businesses are making capital investments, they are investing in the future of the community and intend to grow their operations by improving existing productive capacity. This is one of the metrics we evaluate each year to be sure we’re positively impacting our community and improving the region’s future economic success.

Advance career development opportunities
From recruiting high wage jobs and solidifying educational partnerships, GPEC has played a huge role in advancing career development opportunities for Greater Phoenix residents.

Not only does Phoenix rank number four on the list of 12 cities with high salaries and low costs of living, but the educational partnerships with Arizona State University, Grand Canyon University, University of Arizona, University of Phoenix, Midwestern University, University of Advancing Technology, Maricopa Community Colleges and others are preparing a talented workforce for the in-demand jobs of today and tomorrow.

With the strong technology ecosystem in Greater Phoenix, our community leaders are committed to evaluating educational needs that will lead to future employment success in blockchain, sensor technology and other adjacent industries. From the Phoenix Code Academy, to Galvanize, Woz U, Mesa Community College’s Blockchain Technology Certificate of Completion and many others, we’re proactively evaluating the K-20 educational system and supporting career professionals with opportunities to make career shifts.

Increase quality of life
As important as it is to increase the number of jobs available to residents of Greater Phoenix, it is also imperative that people enjoy living in the community they choose to call home. As community leaders we’re on the lookout for intentional ways that we can improve city operations for the betterment of residents. In Greater Phoenix, cities and towns are coming together to change the way we live by developing a smart region mentality and then transitioning that mentality into action. What this means is that our business and community leaders are implementing smart technology solutions that enhance the quality of life and improve citizen well-being by updating local infrastructure.

Economic development is a critical component that drives economic growth in our region by the creation of high wage jobs, advancement of career development and facilitation of an improved quality of life. By creating a high-performance economy through capital investments and jobs, GPEC is providing Greater Phoenix companies a business climate where they can compete and thrive in today’s global economy. To join the celebration of National Economic Development Week, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. #EconDevWeek #TheConnectedPlace