Economic Development Week rewind: Why should you care?

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, May 17, 2017

I have to admit, before I began working for the Chamber, I can honestly say the term “Economic Development” was not something I understood nor had a desire to know about.

I’m thankful for the Chamber journey to be able to say, today, I care about what it means. The term itself is a bit intimidating, not to mention vague. The average population of us probably still don’t fully understand exactly what it means or how important it is to our everyday life.

Many of us may have different definitions for what Economic Development means. It has many legs, so to speak. There’s not one meaning or definition for it.

As stated above, Economic Development has many different factors and sides. Aside from the typical job creation factor, did you realize a No. 1 factor of economic development is education?

Have you ever thought that the reputation, word of mouth and quality of education in our community is key to the vitality of your community? One of the first things people ask us when calling the Chamber for a welcome packet is, “What kind of school system do you have?”

I’m not sure people realize how significant this is to the growth of our communities. People want to live where there are good schools for their children. Our region is prime with potential for business growth. There are available jobs, with more on the forefront.

We have a Technical college in our own back yard. Recently, the Chamber instrumented an MOU between the three River Parishes governments, superintendents, LCTCS system and Workforce Investment (WIB) to serve as a catalyst to create pathways between the region to ensure that unemployed, underemployed and high school youth have every opportunity to take advantage of these available career opportunities.

Kudos to St. John Parish for taking a proactive approach to acknowledge and celebrate “National Economic Development Week.”

They are on a mission to educate all of us and bring awareness on how each of us plays a role in the economic development of where we live and work. If you’re reading this and not sure what I’m talking about, visit the parish’s website at

If you or anyone you know is thinking of or in the process of starting a business, please help us communicate to them the very FIRST step – meet with the parish’s local Economic Development department. This is key!

Before they ride around looking for space to rent or dip into their savings to go get permits, please, help share this. It is vital to their stability and continuity.

The Economic Development department is equipped with info that could help save them a bunch of $$$ and headaches. Potential and new businesses will be given accurate info and resources to help them get off on the right foot.

None of us likes to drive around and see a new business close after a few months of opening. With the right resources, we can help put a halt to this by this one thing.

Chassity McComack is executive director of the River Region Chamber of Commerce. Email her at or log onto