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Partners join team developing new strategic economic growth plan

The new strategic economic growth plan will guide the state into the next decade and beyond.

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Governor Kay Ivey announced Friday that a consulting firm and two Alabama universities have been selected to assist in the creation of a new strategic economic growth plan that will guide the state into the next decade and beyond.

The organizations will gather comprehensive data to help a small team led by Ellen McNair, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, to identify the plan’s overall objectives, potential new approaches and the target industry sectors best aligned for recruitment and growth.

Collaborating on the project are:

McKensey & Company will conduct a quantitative analysis of the target sectors and develop strategies for each of these sectors spanning the range of innovation and entrepreneurship, business retention/expansion and business attraction. The firm will also engage with industry leaders outside of Alabama for a qualitative analysis.

Troy University’s Continuing Education and Outreach will facilitate focus groups of internal stakeholders including regional economic developers, private sector leaders and business associations.

Alabama A&M University’s Center for Educator Preparation and Certification Services will bring an academic element to the qualitative analysis through extensive notetaking, review and the preparation of a final report based on the information gathered.

In addition, the executive committee will continue a partnership with the Hoover Institution, a leading economic policy research center led by former U.S. Secretary of State and Alabama native Condoleeza Rice, which has been analyzing many aspects of the state’s economic development practices and strategies.

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“We can be proud of our solid track record in economic development, but it’s critically important for us to be prepared for what the future brings in order to capitalize on the fast-paced changes being driven by technology,” said Governor Ivey. “This new strategic plan will keep us competitive for the kind of game-changing corporate growth projects that invigorate communities and families. We must have an economic development strategy that prepares us for the 2030s today.”

The organizations will immediately begin conducting surveys, engaging in interviews with business leaders, convening focus groups and evaluating strategies to help shape the strategic plan. The firm’s experts will also examine best practices, leverage industry studies and explore enhanced levels of accountability, among other things.

“Our goal is to identify smart and future-forward strategies, backed by data, that will provide the framework for our economic development efforts well into the 2030s,” said Secretary McNair. “Our eyes are on the future, and we intend to make sure Alabama is the top choice for growth projects from companies from across the globe.”

Joining Secretary McNair on the executive committee leading development of the plan are Greg Barker of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, Bill Poole representing Innovate Alabama and Dr. David Bronner of the Retirement Systems of Alabama.

Governor Ivey has given the team an ambitious deadline, with October 1 targeted for delivery of the completed plan.

The new plan will replace Accelerate Alabama, the state’s first-ever economic development strategic plan that was adopted in 2012 and last updated in 2017.

Since Accelerate Alabama was adopted, the state has attracted over $67 billion in new capital investment through projects involving nearly 170,000 job commitments, according to data from the Alabama Department of Commerce.

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The next-generation strategic plan is envisioned to include a broader focus and new elements such as elevating human capital, spurring entrepreneurship and energizing talent attraction. It will also concentrate on quality placemaking, which includes leveraging the state’s outdoor recreation infrastructure, a key pillar of Innovate Alabama’s mission.

Governor Ivey’s push for a new strategic plan follows on the 2023 adoption of The Game Plan, a package of economic development bills that modernized Alabama’s playbook for facilitating economic growth.

“We’re taking bold steps to raise Alabama’s economy to the next level so that our citizens can take advantage of life-changing career opportunities and our state can reach new heights of prosperity,” said Governor Ivey. “The future is bringing dynamic changes, and Alabama is going to be a trailblazer.”

The Alabama Political Reporter is a daily political news site devoted to Alabama politics. We provide accurate, reliable coverage of policy, elections and government.

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