It’s been another great year for Colorado’s Grand Valley. Continued, manageable and diversified growth means better jobs for parents and better outcomes for kids. Job growth continues in multiple sectors and at GJEP, we’ve taken a hard look at how we do business in order to keep up with the needs of a changing economy. We’re shifting resources away from trade shows and expensive advertising and putting it into our staff and new technologies to make us more efficient and responsive. We must grow to keep up with the growth happening across the valley and we’re excited to continue to add needed programs and services next year.
The steady stream of developers and brokers that walk through our door provide enough business for another staff person and we’re excited to add a Developer’s Concierge in the New Year to work closely with real estate developers across the valley to guide the right projects to the right locations. We’ll continue to track data and embark on a market analysis to help developers make solid and safe investments all over Mesa County.
The passage of ballot measure 2B, allowing for 99 year leases at Las Colonias Park, followed by the groundbreaking of RockyMount’s new headquarters building was a great way to wrap up the year and will position us well to recruit new business into the park in 2020.
We continue to see the manufacturing sector grow and are helping a number of local businesses through the Rural Jump Start Incentive in order to give those companies every advantage as they add important jobs to our community. Colorado Mesa University continues to be our greatest asset as partnerships with D51 and Western Colorado Community College provide the human capital that will position us for success in the future. Local efforts to establish a Foreign Trade Zone, the growth of the Maker Space at the Business Incubator Center, as well as workforce efforts focused on skilled labor spearheaded by the Mesa County Workforce Center and the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce, lead us to believe that 2020 will be the year of the Manufacturer. We’re all in.
Without a doubt, the announcement that the BLM Headquarters would relocate to Grand Junction was the highlight of our year and we at GJEP never again want to hear, “that will never happen”. Our Employee Relocation Program was put into action and we look forward to welcoming the first employees in January.
The Governor released his Rural Economic Development Blueprint last week. And while it does address the high cost of healthcare in rural communities, it was fairly light on anything to do with actual jobs, which was disappointing. Unfortunately, nobody wants to actually talk about the huge hole being created- in both job numbers and local revenue- when we push all of the oil and gas jobs out of the state. Of all the things I’m grateful for right now, the physical distance between us and the capital is at the top of the list. Having the Rocky Mountains smack dab between us and the mother ship will force us to be more creative and innovative in how we grow our economy in a way that’s right for western Colorado.
It’s usually slowed down for us this time of year, but that has not been the case this year and we don’t appear to be the only ones still trying to keep up. We’ll be taking a break over the week of Christmas and will be back and ready to jump right back in for an exciting 2020.
From all of us at the Grand Junction Economic Partnership, we wish you and your business a very Happy and Prosperous New Year!
This article originally ran in The Daily Sentinel on Sunday, December 15, alongside the Grand Valley Economic Snapshot.