More jobs. Better-trained workers. Expansion of existing businesses. New industries.
That's a long shopping list, and it's what the Stanislaus Economic Development and Workforce Alliance has laid out as the goals of its five-year plan introduced Wednesday at the group's annual meeting.
But alliance board members acknowledged that reaching those goals will require a lot of teamwork, including a hoped-for $3.5 million contribution from the private sector.
"We have all put our anchor in the ground here, so let's pull together," said board member Corwin Harper, a co-chairman for the campaign to tout the plan, Strengthening Stanislaus II.
If the alliance can get that funding from private businesses in Stanislaus County, board members said, they can pair that with $4.97 million in public sector funding.
The bulk of the combined $8.47 million, about $3.1 million, would be spent on supporting existing industries and promoting local entrepreneurs, according to the plan.
"I feel strongly that the best path to economic development is to help local businesses grow and prosper," said Ralph Curtis, campaign co-chairman. "This alliance has to be turned over to the community and become part of the business community."
Other goals include increasing education and skills among workers in the county, expanding business parks and industrial sites, finding new industries and marketing Stanislaus County and the region.
Meeting those goals, board members said, would mean 2,070 more jobs in the next five years, establishment of an "angel fund" to provide money for new or expanding businesses, and adding 1,000 acres of industrial land in the county.
The specific goals, said alliance Chief Executive Officer Bill Bassitt, should ensure that money will be spent in an effective way. "We don't confuse activity for accomplishment," he said.
Bassitt and board Chairman Paul Van Konynenburg also pointed out what the alliance accomplished with its previous plan, created in 2003.
The list included work on specific industrial centers and job bases in Turlock, Patterson and Oakdale, designating an enterprise zone in much of the county and bringing in employers such as Kohl's and Fastenal.
The new plan's presentation came after The Beard Land and Investment Co. withdrew its financial support for the alliance last week, and the company's president and CEO, Joseph Mackil, resigned from the board.
In a resignation letter, Mackil said alliance staff spent too much time trying to get government grant money, and not enough on economic development.
The Beard Land and Investment Co. contributed $35,000 annually to the alliance, and was listed as one of the group's "lead investors" on the alliance Web site.
Bee staff writer Ben van der Meer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2331.