VPP releases reports, legislative agenda focused on water, workforce and research

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In a report to stakeholders, the Valley Prosperity Partnership released three reports that identify action steps to support the first three of six initiatives: workforce attraction, development and retention; water security and management for the Valley and university research capacity and relevancy.

During the report to stakeholders, the VPP leadership team outlined the process and development of the strategic plan, results of the working groups and next steps for the VPP.

Immediately following the release of VPP’s report in May of 2014, three working groups came together to start putting strategy into action. The groups focused on ways the region could collectively have an impact. The groups put together recommendations that support each initiative including a legislative agenda.

Talent Attraction, Retention & Development:
The VPP will help coordinate regional talent attraction, development and retention initiatives to ensure the Valley can meet and sustain the current and future employment demands while helping to give North Dakota, Minnesota and the Valley a greater voice in national policy.

Expanding research capacity and relevancy:
The VPP will work to ensure that the Valley’s universities’ research and technology commercialization activities are fully funded, can attract quality faculty, and can support regional industry and their unique competencies.

Ensuring water security and management:
The VPP will collaborate with internal and external stakeholder to ensure the Valley’s water security infrastructure and management system are fully funded, constructed and operational, effectively protecting against future flooding while providing for a readily sustainable water supply at all times.

The VPP has retained lobbyists with Vogel Law Firm and is moving forward with a legislative agenda that includes support for business and education partnership initiatives aimed at retaining youth and increasing in-migration to meet future employment needs; for increased investment in university research and growth of commercialization capacity; and funding for water projects that impact the Red River Valley.

“The priority areas we have identified impact our businesses, our employees, and our communities. We will not achieve these goals by duplicating programs or systems that already exist. We are focused on enhancing collaboration and bringing new partners together.” said Tammy Miller, committee co-chair and CEO of Border States Electric.

Made up of 27 leaders from up and down the Red River Valley, the VPP was formed to develop an action-oriented strategy and plan to collaborate on these issues that impact the long-term economic growth and sustainability of the Red River Valley. The action-oriented economic development strategy identified six focus areas for high value and sustained economic growth in the Red River Valley.

“The VPP is a regional voice supporting the efforts laid out in the strategic plan. This is a historical and pivotal time for the Red River Valley. We are working toward common goals at local, state, and federal levels to help key programs evolve and increase funding support when necessary,” said Steve Burian VPP co-chair and CEO of AE2S.

In May 2013, the VPP undertook an extensive outreach effort to gather input and collect background information. Hundreds of interviews and focus groups with regional stakeholders along with hours of research culminated in the plan that aims to improve the economy up and down the Red River Valley region.

The strategic plan identified six key areas for action:

• Workforce attraction, development and retention
• Water security and management for the Valley
• University research capacity and relevancy
• Entrepreneurial activity and output
• Infrastructure development and capital improvements
• Perceptions of the Valley

The VPP will begin tackling the final three initiatives in May of 2015.

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