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Berks commissioners endorse economic development initiative

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(Courtesy of Berks County) Berks County has endorsed a new initiative to help boost the local economy.

At an operations meeting Tuesday, the commissioners unanimously voted to support the IMAGINE Berks strategic economic development plan that aims to foster a strong and resilient county economy.

Pamela Shupp Menet, director of economic development for the county, unveiled the plan to the board nearly a year after the county hired an economic and community development consulting firm to manage creating the initiative for about $195,000.

Shupp Menet said Tuesday that their expertise, along with community feedback gathered throughout the county, helped devise a plan that is inclusive and innovative.

The mission of the plan is to guide economic development efforts for the next five years.

Shupp Menet said the initiative aims to address four critical issues the firm identified:• There are unequal dynamics between job seekers and the local job market: For every one job created by industry growth, there are seven vacancies created by labor force exits. That represents an estimated 4% turnover between 2018 and 2028.• Land availability is a challenge: Only 22% of county land supports commercial and residential activity, greatly restricting opportunities for development.• The housing stock is not meeting demand: Only […]

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