Economic Strength

The Wake County Board of Commissioners identified four goals in the Economic Strength key focus area. Select a goal from the list below to learn more about the rationale, objectives, links to comprehensive plans or resources, community indicators and performance measures, and strategies.

ES 1: Every resident has opportunities to be successful and thrive in Wake County's economic prosperity.

Rationale

As one of the nation's fastest-growing regions, Wake County is home to many businesses – from Fortune 500 household names to small and mid-sized companies. It is consistently rated as one of the best places in the country to live and work. Every resident deserves the opportunity to be a part of this success story. It is the County's responsibility to make that happen by creating an environment where all people can thrive and provide the tools needed to succeed (including training, education and a living wage). By leveraging the County's resources and community partnerships, any resident should be able to play an active role in the economy's success and enjoy a high quality of life as a result.

Objectives:

  • Foster upward mobility
  • Encourage the creation of livable wage jobs with affordable benefits
  • Attract and retain young workers through partnerships with local colleges and universities7
  • Increase access8 to workforce development, education, training, talent management9 and entrepreneurship development
  • Build and strengthen community partnerships with community health and vitality strategies
  • Foster and support residents' career enhancement and job creation

Key Resources:

Example Indicators and Performance Measures:

Example Strategies:

  • ES 1.1: Create a platform to encourage and facilitate socially responsible business practices
  • ES 1.2: Explore options to identify and increase opportunities for minority-owned businesses and historically underutilized companies seeking to do business with Wake County
  • ES 1.3: Convene stakeholders to identify, explore and implement local strategies to foster greater economic mobility. Tactics may include economic support/training, coaching, programs targeted toward adverse childhood experiences, behavioral health, access to capital, and others.
     

Includes historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs)
Access is defined as program offerings, affordability, and proximity to offerings.
Consider talent management from employer and employee standpoints.

ES 2: Ensure that all households have access to affordable high-speed internet.

Rationale

Access to information is essential for education, economic mobility and social well-being. Wake County recognizes the importance of the internet in one's ability to participate fully in today's society. As such, the County wants every home to have access to affordable high-speed internet and all residents to have the tools to get online. People should not be excluded from engaging in essential tasks due to a lack of internet access. Ensuring that residential high-speed internet gets to the communities who need it will help address the digital divide and allow the entire community to thrive.

Objectives:

  • Increase high-speed internet coverage – including rural areas of Wake County
  • Eliminate disparities in household internet access
  • Increase resident's ability to access the internet

Key Resources:

Example Indicators and Performance Measures:

  • Broadband internet coverage
  • Number of households with broadband internet access (US Census, ACS)

Example Strategies:

  • ES 2.1: Identify and work with partners to enhance high-speed internet connectivity options for all residents. Explore methods to reduce barriers, leverage resources and facilitate the buildout of high-speed internet that enables coverage, speed and affordability for all residents.

ES 3: Support economic development efforts to bring diverse jobs, talent, businesses and visitors to Wake County.

Rationale

Wake County combines cost, comfort and culture (plus thousands of diverse jobs) to make it one of the best places to live, work and visit in the world. As the region grows, the County must attract new businesses, encourage expanding existing businesses, recruit talent and diversify the economic base. In addition to landing global headquarters and recruiting international companies, a focus on small business success and our local workforce's strength is also vital. A strong economy leads to a high quality of life, attracting businesses, talent and tourism to the region.

Objectives:

  • Attract and retain a diverse economic base
  • Attract, develop, manage and retain a talented workforce
  • Collaborate and leverage community partnerships – including the Raleigh-Durham International Airport and WakeMed
  • Support initiatives that support entrepreneurs and small businesses – new and existing
  • Support and expand tourism and hospitality facilities with the highest and best use
  • Provide affordable access to hospitality facilities to all residents and visitors

Key Resources:

Example Indicators and Performance Measures:

  • Labor force participation
  • Unemployment rate
  • Business investment grant awards (through Wake County Economic Development)
  • Small business development grants (through Capital Area Workforce Development)
  • Estimated visitation (Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau)
  • Visitor spending and economic impact (Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau)
  • Hospitality tax revenues

Example Strategies:

  • ES 3.1: Evaluate and measure the effectiveness of strategies that support businesses owned by minorities, women, individuals with disabilities, and socially and economically challenged people
  • ES 3.2: Evaluate and measure the effectiveness of strategies that support small-business creation and successful entrepreneurship

ES 4: Support, promote and celebrate arts and culture.

Rationale

Arts and culture are core to Wake County's identity. It threads through all aspects of our community – driving jobs, powering economic development, drawing people to the County, and improving the overall quality of life. Inclusive cultural and artistic programs help broaden individual perspectives and enrich everyday experiences. Wake County supports its arts community, which inspires and enlightens those living here and contributes to our continued growth.

Objectives:

  • Improve residents' overall quality of life – linking to community health and vitality strategies
  • Grow and broaden the economic base
  • Support and encourage visual and performing artistic expression
  • Increase exposure to art programs to school-aged youth

Example Indicators and Performance Measures:

  • Public art investments at new county facilities
  • School-aged youth who participate in art programs supported by County funding
  • The direct economic activity generated by arts and cultural production
  • Number of jobs supported by the arts and culture industry