The unemployment rate in Lubbock is 2.6%, and Market Lubbock Inc. has committed nearly $12 million of taxpayer funds to keep jobs plentiful. Now, board members met at the Lubbock Country Club to announce how they plan to continue that mission.
"There is no region in the world that has a can-do spirit more than our part of the country," said businessman Dale Gannaway. Promoting Lubbock as fertile ground for economic development is the main goal of Market Lubbock Inc. An organization designed to bring jobs to the city. In the past year alone, Market Lubbock has helped create and retain over 1,000 jobs and boosted the Lubbock payroll by over $131,000,000 over the past three years.
"For every dollar that Market Lubbock has used to incentives a company, we've gotten a $27 return on that number," says Gannaway. "I think that's a great return on investment," he added.
Today, Market Lubbock announced "A New Vision for the Future," a plan which focuses on fostering local business development rather than simply recruiting outside companies to move to Lubbock.
"We want to create a culture that helps them grow," said board member Terri Patterson. "Stay here, grow your business here, don't leave," she said.
But keeping businesses here means improving the area's "Intellectual Infrastructure." That entails building bridges between universities and the private sector, holding on to recent college grads, and improving the areas school system. As it is now, a full 27% of South Plains residents don't have a high school diploma.
"The school system, they're dying for this," said Market Lubbock Chairman Mike Field. "And so if we can do that, then we can reach a lot of young kids in the area and change the statistics immensely and quickly," he said.
And that, say business leaders, will help more Lubbockites feel good about doing business in the hub city. "We should be very proud of who we are, and where we live, and the resources we have up here," said Gannaway.