Solano County looks to strategically diversify its economy
By Melissa Murphy
The Reporter, Vacaville @ReporterMMurphy on Twitter
Posted: 08/02/2014 09:20:40 PM PDT
Solano County continues to explore ways to grow and diversify its economy.
Tuesday, the Solano County Board of Supervisors will receive a presentation and public comment at 2 p.m. on the draft 2014 Solano County Economic Diversification Study report, available online at www.movingSOLANOforward.com.
The need for economic diversification, according to the county, stems from Solano coming out of the great recession and to strategically strengthen promising industry sectors in order to hedge against Travis Air Force Base funding fluctuations. The county noted in the report that Travis is a primary driver of the county economy. It's the largest employer with annual economic impacts that reach $1.6 billion.
In a report to the board, staff explained that the Solano Economic Development Corporation was asked to assist the Office of Economic Adjustment in conducting an economic diversification study. The OEA, according to staff helps communities with local economies that have significant Department of Defense expenditures.
In January 2013, the board of supervisors accepted a grant to develop a countywide economic strategic approach "to further diversify the Solano County economy so that the local economy is not as dependent on defense expenditures at Travis Air Force Base and to create a sustainable economic base that enables residents and businesses to thrive and prosper independent of budget cycles and changing priorities related to defense spending."
Moving SOLANO Forward was then created and input was collected from various public and private sector leaders that explored the county's demographic and economic profile, existing economic development ecosystem, and viable industries and clusters.
The vision of Moving Solano Forward is for the Solano County region to "work collaboratively to create a diverse and robust economy focused on city-driven growth, desired industry cluster growth in targeted locations, viable agricultural uses and strengthened recreational assets that expand economic opportunities for employers and residents."
The goals of the economic diversification include enhancing countywide development capacity, strengthening regional economic development and workforce development programs and services, and improving quality of life for county residents and businesses.
During the process the analysis refined the characterization of Solano County's existing targeted industry clusters by adding the "advanced materials industry" cluster to those clusters that already exist, energy, food chain, and medical/life sciences.
The advanced materials cluster, staff explained, includes a wide array of high-tech engineered materials, components, and systems, as well as the commodities, products, processes, and instruments to make and monitor the materials.
"Focusing economic development efforts on these clusters will support the potential job and wealth creation in the county as well as strengthen the local economy as a location for these distinct economic activities," staff said.
Additional presentations will be made before the 4Cs, Aug. 14, and Solano EDC, Aug. 28. The final Diversification Report is expected to by completed in September.
The Solano County Board of Supervisors meets at 2 p.m. Tuesday in the County Government Center, 675 Texas St., Fairfield.