Perhaps more than any other region in the country, Southern Nevada was devastated by the Great Recession. The region went from having some of the lowest rates of unemployment to the highest. Tens of thousands of families lost their homes as jobs dried up, credit tightened, and the regional economy shrank. In response to the crisis, the passage of AB449 in 2011 laid the groundwork for reforming the state’s economic development structure. Among other things, the bill required a reevaluation of the state’s three regional economic development authorities, including the organization serving the Las Vegas region.
TIP Strategies was engaged to prepare a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) for Clark County, with a separate investment strategy for the City of Las Vegas. The regional CEDS represented a collaborative effort between the newly formed Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance (LVGEA) and over 300 stakeholders in Southern Nevada. Major themes of the plan included strengthening the regional business climate, fostering entrepreneurship, and strengthening the region’s workforce and education system in order to develop, attract, and retain talent. As part of this work, TIP helped the LVGEA refine and prioritize regional opportunities identified as part of the Brookings Institution’s 2011 study, “Unify, Regionalize, Diversify: An Economic Development Agenda for Nevada.” Recommendations for the City of Las Vegas focused on leveraging the Downtown Project–a $350 million investment in downtown Las Vegas funded by Zappos founder, Tony Hsieh–and creating a more aggressive business recruitment and retention program.