Department of Economic Development launches “Best in Midwest” initiative

April 25, 2018

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.—Today the Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED) launched an initiative to become the top economic development agency in the Midwest. The Best in Midwest initiative will create a new statewide strategy for economic development, led by DED.

“Missouri has the potential to be an economic powerhouse,” Governor Eric Greitens said. “It’s time we realized that potential, and we’re going to do it by transforming the Missouri Department of Economic Development into a laser-focused national leader in economic development. Missourians deserve the best, and that’s what we’re going to give them.”

“This is a pivotal time for our state and our nation. The economy has fundamentally changed. There are new opportunities ahead, but we have to rethink our strategy to take advantage of them,” Department Director Rob Dixon said. “How we approach economic development over the next generation will mean the difference between a thriving and successful Missouri, and one that is not.”

The initiative will focus extensively on helping businesses grow and create jobs and helping workers access training and acquire skills to find employment. Addressing this need will require DED to review its programs and structure, ensuring services are aligned with the business community’s needs.

Starting immediately, the Department, with the help of professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers Public Sector LLP, will conduct a complete top-to-bottom review of Missouri’s economic development strategy. PwC PS brings expertise in organizational and program design, strategy and economic development – and has recently assisted other states on similar projects.

“Missouri’s business community is fully supportive of the Best in Midwest initiative, because it’s what we need to compete and win,” Dan Mehan, President and CEO of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry said. “I’m excited that DED is developing a fresh strategy.”

Mehan is one of over 70 public and private sector economic development officials, business leaders, workforce development and tourism professionals, and legislators invited to serve on the advisory committee that will help craft the new strategy.

“When you look at the states that are leading the nation in economic development, they have a clear strategy and a laser-focused economic development agency. Their workforce programs are aligned directly with business needs,” State Senator Jay Wasson, Chairman of the Senate Economic Development Committee said. “Missouri absolutely can become the best in the Midwest, but it’s going to take that kind of laser-focus.”

“As a business owner myself, I can tell you that nothing in the economy is the same as it was a decade ago.  For our state to succeed in economic development, we need to take a new approach that looks toward the future,” Representative Holly Rehder, Chairman of the House Economic Development Committee said. “This is exactly what we should be doing for economic development.”

Over the course of this year, DED will conduct an economic analysis to identify Missouri’s opportunities for growth and job creation, study best practices in economic development from around the country, and issue recommendations on how the State can implement the new strategy.

Items requiring executive or legislative action will then be presented to the Governor and General Assembly for later review.

For more information and to subscribe for updates on the Best in Midwest initiative visit ded.mo.gov/BestinMidwest.