Economic development is back on track! With the Coachella Valley now truly open for business after the return of the Coachella Music and Arts Festival and Stagecoach it’s time to reevaluate, reassess and plan for the future of the Coachella Valley. Cue Economic Development Week, a time to celebrate the often-unseen work that builds a stronger economic foundation for our region. Economic Development Week is a national celebration happening from May 9 to May 13. During this week communities across the Coachella Valley and the nation will recognize the contributions made by professional developers to create livable and economically vibrant communities!

Economic Development Week was created by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) in 2016.  The IEDC is a non-profit membership organization serving economic developers and is the largest organization of its kind. Its purpose is to ‘increase awareness for local programs that create jobs, advance career development opportunities, and improve the quality of life in communities everywhere.’ The IEDC’s members are engaged in all arenas of economic development from public to private, rural to urban, and local to international. Through their breadth of experience and variety of settings in which they work the IEDC’s members create ‘high-quality jobs, develop vibrant communities and improve the quality of life in their regions.’

Participants will have the chance to voice the value of their contributions to their local economies and build a base of support within their community for the work of their economic development. This event will emphasize the importance of economic development through tangible examples and peer case studies. Furthermore, it will increase the exposure of all the good work their respective economic development organizations do throughout the year!

About Economic Development in the Coachella Valley

Because economic development isn’t always a topic of household discussion, we like to use Economic Development Week as an excuse to shine a light on what we do at CVEP, and why it’s important.

We asked David Robinson, Director of Analytic Services, “What is the most rewarding thing about working in economic development?

“As CVEP’s Director of Analytic Services, I am most rewarded by helping clarify the factual underpinnings of our unique valley economy. The Coachella Valley is unenviably located in an unusually large and populous county, Riverside County. And to make things worse, we are simultaneously located in the largest (by area) Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, which is now the 12th most populated MSA in the country. Unfortunately, a great deal of useful economic data is compiled at the county and MSA level. Utilizing Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology, I am able break these valuable data into more granular, useable facts. So I can help a new business find their optimal location in the valley or assist a local city with fine-grained demographic data. Understanding the local economy helps us better comprehend the challenges and opportunities afforded by our unique locale.”

We asked Lesa Bodnar, Chief of Staff, “What is the single most rewarding project you’ve been a part of?

“CVEP’s Annual Economic Summit is one of the most exciting events I have ever worked on. I love the preparation, the robust attendance, and most importantly, the pleasure of working with our fantastic team. I am proud to help bring important economic information to our business leaders.

As CVEP’s longest term employee, I am also extremely proud of all the work that CVEP has managed to accomplish despite financial and other challenges. It is my fondest wish that our community fully embraces the economic work that CVEP does with strong, sustainable and consistent funding.”

We asked Laura James, Vice President of Innovation, “What does economic development mean for our Coachella Valley community?

“Expanded higher education and ample high-wage jobs: the chicken and the egg. The Coachella Valley economy is unique because we need the chicken AND the egg, so as economic developers, we’ve got our work cut out for us. We need expanded opportunities for higher education that will prepare our future workforce for high-wage jobs. At the same time, we need to build upon industries that can offer good starting wages and exceptional opportunities for career advancement. Each has a better existence when in proximity to the other.

In the long run, what this means for our community is that every individual will have many more options in how they choose to make a living. Skilled or unskilled, white-collar or blue-collar, laborer or executive and everything in between: all jobs are valuable, though they are compensated very differently. The residents of the Coachella Valley should have every opportunity to choose their path without leaving the region, and the only way to make this happen is by adding higher education and diversifying job opportunities. It will take concerted and meaningful investment to make the change.”

Are you an innovator or entrepreneur looking to help develop your business in the Coachella Valley?

Entrepreneurship-led economic development is a key regional strategy in the Coachella Valley. CVEP works with innovators and entrepreneurs at every stage of business – from incubation to launch to daily operation. Our iHubs in Palm Desert, Palm Springs and Indio are spaces for collaboration and innovation and act as nexuses of entrepreneurship which serve to help the Coachella Valley stride toward its goals of creating a more diverse and durable economy with opportunities for all. Are you an entrepreneur looking to get a start in increasingly competitive markets? Economic Development Week could be the right time for you to get started! Click on the respective iHub locations to find more information about our iHubs! (Palm Desert, Palm Springs, Indio)

Further details on CVEP and its programs are available through the rest of our website.