Local business leaders declare war for jobs
Private and public business leaders in Wichita are rolling out a five-year program to improve economic activity in the area called "Business at Full Throttle."
"The time has come in Wichita for us to go to war for jobs," said Wichita Area Metro Chamber of Commerce Gary Plummer, who said the goal of the program is to place Wichita among the top 25 percent of metropolitan areas in the country, in terms of economic performance, within a generation. The area currently ranks anywhere from 104 to 204 out of 366, depending on which source you use.
So far, the campaign has quietly raised about $7.2 million from local businesses and government towards its goal of $9 million.
Plummer said Wichita needs to continue to diversify its employment mix.
"We want to grow our aviation cluster and protect it," Plummer said. "But we also need to diversify and try to attract additional clusters to have a more balanced economy."
Plummer said companies that look for cities to locate their operations look at a variety of factors, including the business climate, the tax environment, government incentives, geograpical location and workforce availability.
Attracting new business to the area could be an uphill battle.
"We know that we have a competitive disadvantage with states like Oklahoma and Texas, who have invested millions of dollars in a closing fund, (and) we don't have anything like that here in Sedgwick County," Plummer said.