Recently, Pima County has taken a few initiatives in promoting economic development in Southern Arizona. On January 5, 2016, the Pima County Board of Supervisors voted to approve a contract with Sun Corridor Inc., an economic development organization that is located in Southern Arizona and Sonora, Mexico. In this contract, Pima County will invest $651,000 towards finding and recruiting companies interested in buying or leasing county-owned land. Formerly known as Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities (or TREO), Sun Corridor offers programs and services to enable job and investment growth by attracting new business as well as keeping and expanding existing businesses.

Since 2014, Sun Corridor has refocused its efforts in attracting defense, aerospace, logistics and export-related business. They have a proven success record when considering their role in transferring and expanding over 100 companies to the region, including Accelerate Diagnostics, Comcast, HomeGoods, Arizona Canning Co., Ventana Medical Systems and, most recently, World View Enterprises. In the past decade, Sun Corridor has helped propel substantial business investment into the Tucson and surrounding regions through job creation, generating $7.9 billion for the local economy. With Pima County, Sun Corridor is focusing on helping make Southern Arizona a frontrunner in international trade between the U.S., Mexico and Canada.

Similarly, on January 19, 2016, the Board of Supervisors voted to support collaboration between Pima County and World View Enterprises by setting up Spaceport Tucson to promote space exploration. The county will invest $14.5 million into constructing corporate headquarters, manufacturing area and a space port on the Aerospace Parkway, just south of Raytheon and Tucson International Airport. World View will offer balloon-rides that travel 100,000 feet into the stratosphere to private individuals and researchers. Through this public-private partnership, Pima County will gain over 400 jobs and expect about $23.6 million in return after the 20 year lease.

Arizona Commerce Authority spokesperson Susan Marie said, “World View is a great Arizona success story and its commitment to expand here will result in hundreds of new high-wage jobs in Southern Arizona. This project is an excellent example of collaborative economic development and we are proud of our work with our partners at Pima County, the City of Tucson and Sun Corridor Inc. to ensure World View’s continued success in our state.”

Working together with companies like Sun Corridor and World View is an important step in making Southern Arizona a competitor in the nation economic development area. Public-private partnerships like these are imperative in creating local jobs and bringing outside companies to establish themselves in Tucson. Many of the jobs available from these companies are high-wage and will help prevent our college graduates from finding jobs elsewhere. We must persuade the youth that we educate at the University of Arizona and Pima Community College to stay in Tucson and enrich our own community instead of fleeing to other cities with, arguably, better job opportunities. We must invest in our future. We must invest in ourselves.

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