The nine-county region served by Workforce Solutions Northeast Texas lies in a largely rural corner of the state that enjoys many substantial economic development advantages. These include proximity to Dallas/Fort Worth, access to Interstate 30, and pro-business climate with a diverse and strong foundation of major industrial employers. However, this region faces a number of challenges. Many of its largest employers report difficulty in attracting and retaining employees along with the additional challenge of inadequate access to a fully developed telecommunications network, broadband internet and wireless cellular phone service. Access to high-speed internet is a basic and necessary infrastructure for all industries, regardless of business sector.
TIP Strategies was engaged by the workforce board, to conduct a Resource & Needs Assessment and Strategic Plan. The purpose of the analysis was to help identify those industries and occupations that represent the greatest potential for contributing to the region’s economy and for leveraging existing resources. TIP identified a number of areas that would benefit from a more regional approach, in order to improve the overall competitiveness of Northeast Texas. Priority recommendations included reenergizing the ‘Make it work in Texas’ campaign, which called for aggressive, coordinated strategies to meet the challenge of filling the workforce pipeline, as well as targeting veterans transitioning into the workforce, and expanding broadband throughout the region. The final report identified six target sectors and provided detailed profiles, which included trends and site selection considerations. The plan suggested that addressing the challenges of competing with the Metroplex, and internal competition for scarce resources, along with leveraging opportunities, would be key to Northeast Texas realizing its full potential.