Mid-America EDC is dedicated to being the leading resource for education, making connections, and sharing best practices for economic development professionals. Nebraska Public Power District is a member of this 13 state regional organization, in part to participate in this resource sharing, alignment in NPPD’s Economic development services and how Mid-America EDC views development in the region moving forward.
This alignment was apparent at the 2022 Mid-America EDC Competitiveness Conference in November, when the Rural Initiatives report, completed by the Montrose Group LLC, was rolled out to members. Included in the report were six recommended strategic initiatives for rural economic development to help guide member developers in 2023. As you’ll see below, NPPD has services and programs that can help support customers in many of these initiatives.
Mid-America EDC Rural Initiatives Strategy #1 – Leveraging industry sector strengths to attract investment, advance the skills of the existing workforce, and build the next generation of workforce, including technology and remote talent attraction.
NPPD provides several different research products that can assist in this first initiative, including Trend Studies, Labor Studies, and Target Industry Studies.
Economic and demographic trend studies provide data on labor force, employment, wages, population, migration, residence and work flow patterns, retail sales, and income for a city and county, and comparable data for surrounding counties. Labor studies provide information along with recent population, labor force, occupation, industry, and wage data for a community’s laborshed. The targeting studies process identifies opportunities for communities to focus their resources to retain, expand, or recruit key businesses.
Mid-America EDC Rural Initiatives Strategy #2 – Enhancing connectivity through deployment of broadband infrastructure, investments in public infrastructure and site development strategies, and the creation of space that encourages entrepreneurship.
Public power in Nebraska has roots in rural electrification and keeping rural America connected to the modern economy. Rural broadband expansion is the modern equivalent and equally as important. While NPPD’s economic development team has not specifically assisted with broadband development, NPPD as a whole has been uniquely positioned to assist with infrastructure improvements like this and will always be willing to look at partnering with entities who will be looking to bring valuable services to our customers.
Mid-America EDC Rural Initiatives Strategy #3 – Rural communities throughout the region should assess and adopt Placemaking strategies that leverage assets such as green space, trail systems and walkability, provide access to job centers, and promote rural communities as a desirable place to live, work, and play.
Impact studies prepared by NPPD can support not only business development but placemaking and community development projects as well. Preliminary estimates of economic impacts associated with a specific proposed project in Nebraska are calculated utilizing a Micro IMPLAN input-output model for the state economy. The IMPLAN database consists of more than 20 economic and demographic variables for 440 sectors for each of the more than 3,000 counties in the United States. Some impacts estimated include employment, payments to labor, payments to other factors of production, and output by industry sector, as well as government and household purchases.
Mid-America EDC Rural Initiatives Strategy #4 – Examine creative efforts for rural capital funding capacity to support entrepreneurship, new business, and small business development.
When seeking capital funding, it’s important to have as much input from the community and notable stakeholders as possible. NPPD has trained facilitator’s to assist in strategic planning sessions to help develop strategic action plans. For community-wide input, NPPD utilizes SurveyMonkey® to perform confidential surveys for the communities it serves to assist in strategic planning, community needs assessments, and other general types of surveys where input is helpful.
Mid-America EDC Rural Initiatives Strategy #5 – Rural communities throughout the region should examine partnership opportunities to enhance access to quality healthcare and childcare services to build a healthy and inclusive workforce.
In 2022, NPPD began developing county specific studies to help demonstrate the economic impact that inadequate childcare has on the local economy. These studies have helped local developers and community leaders further their discussion with local stakeholders in developing sustainable childcare solutions. Check out this article on NPPD’s daycare studies to learn more.
Mid-America EDC Rural Initiatives Strategy #6 – Incentivizing development of residential housing that attracts new residents and meets the evolving needs of existing residents.
Economic impact studies have been utilized for housing projects in Nebraska as well. Check out the video below to see how NPPD was involved in Wahoo as the developed a new 90-lot subdivision.