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Downtown Jacksonville by Ketterman Photography courtesy of JAXUSA Partnership

Northeast Florida (Jacksonville Area) – The Future is Now—Northeast Florida Regional Economic Development Strategy

Challenge

Northeast Florida offers residents a high quality of life with a wide range of amenities, including access to ocean beaches, inland waterways, and other outdoor recreational opportunities as well as options for rural and urban living. Over the past decade, population has increased significantly across the region as skilled talent from around the country is drawn to the area by its innovative jobs and vibrant communities. However, housing and infrastructure developments have not kept pace with growth, threatening the region’s ability to attract and retain workers.

Response

In spring 2022, leadership from across Northeast Florida’s seven counties (Baker, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, Putnam, and St. Johns) came together to create The Future Is Now—Northeast Florida, a people-centric strategy anchored by a strong, regionally focused vision. Driven by JAXUSA Partnership and facilitated by TIP Strategies, the ambitious and inclusive planning process acknowledged that talent is, and will continue to be, the primary driver of economic success. As part of the engagement, TIP prepared a series of analyses, including a broad-based examination of factors influencing Northeast Florida’s competitiveness (with comparisons to peer communities), a review of the talent pipeline, an analysis of local and global factors impacting market and economic growth, and the identification of specific innovation niches within the region’s emerging and high-growth industries. Nurturing these innovation niches will require significant regional investments—in physical infrastructure, in educational programming, in talent pipelines, and in the nurturing and cross-pollination of institutional relationships. In addition to the plan’s regional focus, guiding principles reflected in the goals and strategies include competitiveness, economic mobility, innovation, and resilience. Also woven through the plan’s four goals are several catalytic initiatives ranging from workforce development investments to supporting new development and revitalization efforts to growing the outdoor economy. In recognition of the work that had already been accomplished, the plan recommended the continuation of proven strategies, the scaling up of local programs that could benefit the wider region, and new initiatives that will foster new partnerships needed to continue to grow and diversify the economy.

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