To have all three Jobs Plus leaders in one big room was perhaps the best part of Thursday's Jobs Plus annual meeting.
There was Bob Potter, who got the economic development ball rolling for Jobs Plus almost three decades ago. Seated at the same head table was Steve Griffitts, who for the last 12 years masterfully steered the organization. And between them was the new boss, who is not like the old boss; she's Gynii Gilliam. She's an absolute dynamo who, carrying on momentum generated by Griffitts, announced that six companies with a combined workforce of at least 120 new jobs are on the verge of making public announcements.
Announcements like that are pronouncements of joy to those with a vested interest in economic development, and guess what? Whether they know it or not, everyone has a vested interest in economic development. That's how local tax bases are boosted so citizens can have nice parks and libraries, good streets, and public safety departments that are well-staffed and equipped. It's how new jobs spread additional dollars throughout the community. And it's how those new jobs either give our kids and our grandkids somewhere close to home to make a decent living, or the jobs bring in new neighbors who strengthen our communities.
As you can see from today's coverage of the meeting, including effusive compliments from some notable attendees, optimism is surging not just here in Kootenai County, but statewide. Lt. Gov. Brad Little noted that Idaho is in the top five in GDP growth nationwide and the four who are ahead depend heavily on high energy prices. Will Idaho soon be No. 1? In something we can all be proud of, anyway?
The editorial board of this newspaper believes that a healthy local economic base benefits everyone - and everyone has a role to play in ensuring that base remains healthy. Whether you've got an idea for a new business, a tip on one that might consider moving to Kootenai County, or you'd just like to find out how you might support Jobs Plus, call Jame Davis or Gynii (pronounced JIN-EEE) Gilliam at (208) 667-4753 or visit RelocateToIdaho.org.