SET team unveils 9-county blueprint for economic development across Western Nevada
By Kelly Clark
The Stronger Economies Together (SET) Regional Team unveiled its "Economic Development Blueprint for Western Nevada" Nov. 28, targeting five economic development sectors for future work to move the region’s economy forward.
Representatives from the nine counties in the Western Nevada Development District have been working together since February in a hands-on economic development training and planning process.
"My No. 1 goal for this effort was to create a habit of collaboration across this region," said Sarah Adler, state director of USDA Rural Development, one of the sponsors of the SET process. "That has been achieved and much more — we now have a pragmatic plan for sharing strengths to create economic growth across the region."
The NV SET Team targeted agribusiness, energy, manufacturing, tourism, and transportation/logistics as the economic sectors to focus on for the future. The SET Regional Team reviewed economic development strategies such as export enhancement and import substitution to either expand exports of products and services from a region or stop leakage of goods and services purchases to suppliers outside the region.
Capacity building issues were also identified early on. Across the nine-county region, the group identified access to capital, communication and networking, infrastructure improvement (broadband, water, wastewater systems, and utilities) and workforce development as key areas where collaborative work is needed to enhance the region’s position and support future growth.
The Nevada SET program has been financially supported by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED), which provided grant funding to support the effort. Des Craig, director of rural community development at GOED, called the SET Program "an outstanding collaborative team success."
"The Regional Team that came together to create the plan now has the challenge of continuing to work together to produce tangible results and effect change. Having worked closely with that team for the past nine months and more, I know they are up to the task," Craig said.
Other agencies that played a critically important role in the planning process included the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development (USDA RD), the Nevada Rural Development Council, Western Nevada Development District, Connect Nevada, and the University of Nevada Center for Economic Development.
In October, Ron Radil, the Western Nevada Development District director, accepted an Innovation Award from the National Association of Development Organizations for the district’s work on SET. "We are pleased to accept this award, but we know it is on the behalf of the entire SET Team partners and the regional SET Team," Radil said.
The Stronger Economies Together (SET) is a strategic planning program designed to help communities in rural America work together on a regional basis to create economic development plans based on current and emerging economic strengths in each region. It has been co-developed by the Southern Rural Development Center and USDA Rural Development.
The Economic Development Blueprint for Western Nevada is available online at the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension website, along with a video on the process.