EDC President Elect Greg Canuteson presented an update of the Strategic Initiative during the recent Keystone Awards Breakfast. The EDC will announce community meetings to take place this year to gain input from members and others.
EDC Chair Elect Greg Canuteson said the initiative focuses on key industries and how to improve their job-building successes in Clay County. Started in 2013, the Strategic Plan set a goal of developing 50 new companies and 5,000 new jobs in Clay County by 2023. Now the second-fastest growing county in Missouri, Clay County topped those goals within just three years. To build on that success and identify new goals, Canuteson said the Strategic Plan will be updated in 2019 in order to chart efforts for the next five years.
“We’ve had dramatic success,” Canuteson said. “But now it’s time to update our findings and plan for the future.”
The process for that update will be similar to 2013: a series of meetings held throughout the county to gather information and ideas. Canuteson said times and dates for those meetings will be announced in early 2019, and EDC members should look for emails providing additional details.
Another similarity to 2013 is likely to include key industries that were identified as critical to Clay County’s economy: IT/advanced technology, animal/bio and life-science, advanced manufacturing, higher education and technology transfer.
If the 2019 effort is even half as effective as 2013, the results will be dramatic. Clay County has seen a 19 percent employment increase over the past five years, the highest percentage of increase in Greater Kansas City. Clay County’s employment growth is the third highest in total numbers, behind only Jackson County, Mo., and Johnson County, Kan, which at present have larger overall populations. Clay County’s growth places it ahead of Wyandotte, Platte, Cass, Miami and Leavenworth counties.
As the second-fastest growing county economy in Missouri, Clay County is second only to St. Charles County near St. Louis. The rapid Clay County growth tops Jackson, St. Louis and Greene (Springfield) counties. Demographically, Clay County also ranks high in several Missouri economic categories: an unemployment rate of only 3.1 percent, an average annual wage of $47,020 and a median household income of $65,973.