Northwest Florida is Poised for Growth
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The Panhandle’s adjacency to Alabama and Georgia and its connection to Mississippi and Louisiana through the I-10 corridor naturally spark competition among these states for economic development projects. It has also led to tremendous opportunities to promote the region’s greater resources in sectors the state specifically targets for economic development. Aviation-aerospace is an example. The desire among Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi to market their common aerospace resources and assets found along the I-10 corridor led to the development of The Aerospace Alliance, a public-private coalition that works to position the southeast U.S. region as a pre-eminent aviation-aerospace corridor. This unprecedented partnership among the states is enhancing Florida’s job-recruitment and industry diversification efforts.
Northwest Florida is well placed to maximize these opportunities because of the strength of its legacy and growth of new industries, with aerospace and military-defense among them. Already deemed by many as the foundation of the region’s economy, these sectors stand to gain tremendously through our ties to our military installations and aggressive recruitment by Enterprise Florida and its Northwest partners to generate more business — and jobs — in these sectors. There is a highly qualified workforce coming out of the military that wants to remain in the area as well, which makes the region attractive to major manufacturers. Again, recruitment efforts are bearing more fruit, thanks to our seamless approach.
Manufacturing is an up-and-coming target area not to be overlooked as a viable prospect for new business in Northwest Florida. During the past year alone, the region has benefited greatly from quite a few economic development projects centered on manufacturing operations. They range from smaller but lucrative ventures like 8-year-old electrical equipment manufacturer Custom Control Solutions’ expansion in Cantonment, a $520,000 investment in that Escambia County community with 15 new jobs that set the stage for many more; to Atlanta-based Home Source International’s establishment of a manufacturing and distribution facility in Marianna, a $2.3 million capital investment with 303 jobs forthcoming.
Northwest Florida is on target for further growth, because its favorable business climate and strategic partnerships are resulting in job and economic growth. Working together as we are on a state to local level is demonstrating the region’s capabilities, which makes Florida more competitive.