It's time for a very intentional approach to economic development.
Redding's past doesn't need to define its future
When the timber industry declined in the 1970s, Redding became a service industry by default. Currently the majority of jobs fall within the sectors of health, education, government and retail.
Although we are grateful for every job, these sectors have substantially lower economic benefits for our community compared to jobs in manufacturing, IT, finance, and construction. Our citizens need more jobs that will adequately support their families, and we need to provide hope that our children will have a future in Redding.
The percentage of people living at or below the poverty level in Shasta County is 18% compared to 16% statewide, and the unemployment rate in Shasta county is 7.2% compared to 6.1% statewide.
The median annual income in Redding is $44K compared to $60K statewide.
Target higher-income industry sectors.
Although Tech and Manufacturing represent only 3-4% of the current jobs in Redding, it’s an area of tremendous potential and growth, increasing by over 20% since 2012. This year, the Progressive Policy Institute highlighted Redding for its strong growth in this sector,
The economic output per job in the Tech/Manufacturing industry is 400% greater than the service and retail industries because money comes in from outside the community rather than just being recirculated within the community. Jobs in this sector would be a tremendous benefit to our community, increasing our tax base and providing funding for needed city services.
Within the next 10 years, 70% of jobs in CA will be in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) industries.
The average jobs in tech/manufacturing pay substantially higher than the median income of $44k in Redding. Additionally, the tech industry is quite broad and employees are often mobile. The quality of life in Redding can attract these types of good jobs to our area.
Tech and manufacturing are sustainable. Currently, California is the leading state in both the tech and manufacturing sectors. As manufacturing jobs are returning from off-shores to shorten supply lines and protect intellectual property, we can position ourselves to capture the top growing industries in our state - Healthcare, Manufacturing, Professional Services, Real Estate and Technology. Our proximity to I-5, a major port, relatively low cost of living, high quality of life, lower utility costs, and a good educational system make Redding a good place to do business. This is Redding's future.
Promote entrepreneurship and business growth.
By working to help Redding capture emerging technology, manufacturing, construction and other such industries, we will provide the greatest stimulus to our local economy and increased revenue for needed city services. The EDC has started the Shasta Venture Hub, a 15,000 sf campus, to help mentor and launch some of these new startups. This Hub provides a dynamic support system to allow for continued growth of tech sector jobs.
Over 50 new startups, the vast majority of which are in the tech sector, have started in Redding in the past year or two. Let’s find out what these entrepreneurs need to be successful and multiply their effect. I support increased communication and needs assessment to determine ways the city can remove barriers, facilitate the development of any needed infrastructure and work with companies to help them grow their business here.
Shasta county has SAGE (Shasta Angel Group for Entrepreneurs), which connects investors to entrepreneurs needing capital. At this point SAGE has invested in 4 local start-ups.
Due to the recession, Stillwater Business Park has taken longer than expected to become occupied. The fact remains, SBP is an asset with tremendous potential in the years to come. We will continue to support marketing efforts and work with companies to grow their businesses at this location. We celebrate the fact that Lassen Canyon Nurseries will be relocating to SBP in the near future.
Target tourism opportunities.
We have been gifted with abundant natural beauty that gives Redding the potential to be a destination city. In general, hospitality jobs tend to be lower wage, but Redding has the potential to be a high-end destination city due to its natural beauty and proximity to world-class outdoor activities. By increasing tourism, which brings in money from outside the area, we will increase TOT revenue for city coffers.
I support the development of Park Marina to include a river walk area, restaurants, shops and recreational river activities. We will also facilitate the growth of lifestyle and outdoor industries such as the increased growth of organic farming, microbreweries, viticulture, and manufacturing of outdoor and recreational equipment that are amenable to our area.
I believe this will change Redding from a drive-through, to a drive-to city.