The South County Economic Development Council unveiled the latest draft of its five-year economic development strategy for the region Tuesday in Chula Vista.
The agency will incorporate comment from the public presentation and meet with business owners to develop an action plan.
Launched in July 2013, the strategic plan is modeled after San Diego Foundation's "Our Greater San Diego Vision," which seeks to provide a blueprint for San Diego County.
The South County plan includes comment from focus groups, community workshops, outside research, expert interviews and a survey with more than 4,500 respondents.
The report states the keys to strengthening South County's economic prospects include promoting the innovation economy, building on industry clusters, expanding international trade and commerce, and growing the tourism industry.
The study targets six main industries for growth in South County over the next five years, including health care, its strongest sector, with 16,923 workers.
The economic plan also focuses on tourism, which employs 5,453 in South County, as well as aerospace, advanced manufacturing, food processing and distribution, and maritime industries.
“Our goal for the visioning project was to create an economic strategy for the region focused on investment opportunities and job creation,” Xema Jacobson, chair of the South County EDC, said in a statement released with the report.
“We will now move forward based on the findings by engaging with the community to support future efforts with an emphasis on the attributes of being a binational region.”
The plan identifies several collaborative opportunities with ongoing regional projects such as the San Ysidro Land Port of Entry improvements, Cross-Border Terminal, Chula Vista Bayfront, Bayshore Bikeway and a $900 million redevelopment of Brown Field Municipal Airport in Otay Mesa.
Among the report’s recommendations are:
• Developing a global executive MBA program at a future South Bay university in partnership with a major Mexican university;
• Exploring the establishment of a polytechnic academy to train young people in advanced manufacturing;
• Launching technical training programs at community colleges that meet the specialized needs of aerospace, maritime and aviation industries;
• Developing an attraction and retention program for small manufacturers;
• Forming a global “Fam Trip” tour program to familiarize targeted firms with South County assets and economic opportunities;
• Recruiting a major food processing and distribution company to move its headquarters to South County;
• Exploring the creation of a border business conference center.
The report also mentions opportunities with the "blue economy," including new transit linkages to inland assets.
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