With the current climate, the ability to land a facility in an economically healthy community is far from a given. The Indiana Municipal Power Agency is taking proactive steps to helps its communities weather the economic storm.
That's the idea behind the agency's Economic Survival Boot Camp, a program for community leaders that strives to help them face challenges head-on while embracing their strengths. During the two-day, intensive retreat, six to 10 participants assess their communities' status and work together to come up with strategies for handling short-term issues and long-term growth. The goal is to depart with four or five key action plans apiece, addressing economic issues deemed critical to tackle in the next 12 months. To help with the implementation, the participants attend follow-up sessions six and 12 months later.
Other creative ideas for keeping communities on their economic development toes include IMPA's "Mystery Shopper" program. Like the programs that retailers and restaurants use to improve quality and customer service, IMPA's program gauges local economic development organizations' procedures, response tactics, and marketing materials. A site selection consulting firm works with IMPA to operate the "Mystery Shopper" program and delivers the results and recommendations through consultation, analysis, and a written report.