JAX Chamber’s ‘The Future is Now’ guides regional strategy

The five-year plan highlights areas that “will require significant investments.”

The cover for JAX Chamber’s “The Future is Now” report.
The cover for JAX Chamber’s “The Future is Now” report.
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With a regional population projected at 1.98 million by 2025, JAX Chamber developed “The Future is Now – Northeast Florida” strategic plan for the seven counties of Baker, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, Putnam and St. Johns.

Completed in February, the five-year strategy took the five existing targets determined in 2018 and refined them into six:

  • Transportation and logistics
  • Advanced manufacturing
  • Life sciences
  • Technology services
  • Financial services
  • Corporate operations

It also highlighted innovation niches among those six targets:

  • Intermodal logistics
  • Agribusiness
  • Space and defense technologies
  • Health tech
  • Biomedical research
  • Fintech

“The innovation areas highlighted will require significant investments – in physical infrastructure, in educational programming, in talent pipelines, and in the nurturing and cross-pollination of institutional relationships,” says the strategy’s executive summary.

The state Office of Economic & Demographic Research reported that the seven counties now have an estimated population of 1.85 million. Duval alone has more than 1 million people.

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The strategy’s guiding principles were competitiveness, regionalism, economic mobility, innovation and resilience.

The goals are talent development; business growth; quality of place; and infrastructure networks.

There also are “catalytic initiatives” comprising talent, employment centers, downtown, outdoor economy and the innovation niches.

JAX Chamber said the strategy was developed through a 30-member steering committee, four committee meetings, two planning workshops, 18 roundtable sessions involving more than 215 participants, seven county tours and more than 17 interviews of people among business and industry, nonprofits, higher education, the public sector and the First Coast Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

The 2018 “Elevate Northeast Florida” plan was updated “to tighten regional marketing efforts and prospect coverage.”

The strategy was funded by JAXUSA Partnership, the economic development division of JAX Chamber; CareerSource Northeast Florida; JEA; the Jacksonville Civic Council; the Northeast Florida Regional Council; and the Jacksonville Transportation Authority.

Representatives of Choose Baker - Baker County Economic Development, Clay Florida Economic Development Corp., Flagler County, Nassau County, the Putnam County Chamber of Commerce, St. Johns County and the city of Jacksonville were steering committee members, subject matter experts and community liaisons.



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