Bounded by the Cook Inlet and the Chugach Mountains, Anchorage is situated in one of the world’s most beautiful settings. Its scenic parks and trails, upscale ski resort, top-tier restaurants, and unique cultural and arts amenities make the city a popular destination for visitors and adventure seekers from around the globe. It is strategically located along the Pacific Rim and near the increasingly important Arctic region. Yet despite its many assets, Anchorage faces multiple economic challenges that threaten industry and workforce growth, many of which were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. These issues include population loss, a lack of affordable housing, and downtown stagnation.
In response, local stakeholders and organizations embarked on multiple planning initiatives to identify challenges and propose solutions. As part of these coordinated efforts, the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation (AEDC) secured a grant from the US Economic Development Administration (EDA) to examine the region’s primary industry clusters and connect them to workforce needs. AEDC engaged TIP Strategies to lead the analysis and planning effort. Choose Anchorage: A Framework For Revitalization outlines five guiding principles which express the economic development values and priorities identified during the planning process and which were deeply woven through the recommendations: collaborative, inclusive, diversifying, sustainable, and actionable. While the focus of the grant was developing an economic industry and workforce cluster analysis for the city, the recommendations took aim at major structural issues that influence Anchorage’s long-term prosperity. Choose Anchorage sets out four goals that build on one another: 1) driving new business investment and strengthening the existing business base; 2) deepening the pipeline of skilled talent; 3) enhancing the city’s quality of place; and 4) investing in vital infrastructure. Taken together, they provide community partners with a five-year roadmap to collectively strengthen Anchorage’s economic vitality.