College to host economic forum

Posted: Wednesday, November 14, 2001

Kenai Peninsula College announces the second annual Kenai Peninsula Economic Outlook Forum hosted by KPC Friday and Saturday.

Friday's event will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday's hours will be 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The public is invited and encouraged to attend.

The forum's purpose is to increase public input into the planning process for the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS). The CEDS process provides the road map for the Kenai Peninsula's progress toward a strong and healthy economy.

KPC looks forward to participating in the discussions because of declining work force and training issues and the fact that higher education has a direct effect on the economy.

KPC needs to remain sensitive to the current economic state of peninsula residents, businesses and government agencies to ensure that its programs are meeting "real world" needs.

Last year, the Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District, in conjunction with Sen. John Torgerson, R-Kasilof, held the first boroughwide outlook forum and six individual community outlook forums.

The goal of the forums was to solidify partnerships and forge new relationships among communities, agencies and residents. The EDD acts as a catalyst and facilitator that provides organizational support and advice to any community wanting to participate in the process.

One common theme that came out of each forum last year was the need to build regional coalitions so that solutions can be applied to areas with similar issues.

The 2001 strategic plan (CEDS) was distributed to borough municipalities, chambers of commerce, the Resource Conservation and Development District, community groups and business leaders.

The CEDS document information is used by numerous agencies in grant writing, reports and trend analysis. Communities who choose to participate in the CEDS process end up with a detailed breakdown of key economic factors that can be helpful when applying for federal or state grants or loans.

EDD points out that the CEDS plan has been used as a tie-breaker between communities vying for the same funding.

This year's forum is again co-sponsored by Torgerson, who will moderate the opening sessions. The forum will consist of presentations by peninsula mayors, Native corporations and state and federal agencies followed by "breakout sessions" with panel discussions on a variety of subjects.

Sessions include:

Trends in tourism

Commercial fishing

Technology trends

Manufacturing, distribution and marketing on the peninsula

Forest products

Workforce development

Economic impact of education

Web site development for small business

Sport fishing and tourism

People may attend as many sessions as they would like.

Be part of this important and strategic planning session. Even if you can't take part both days, stop by and hear what's going on. The more participants in the process, the better the end product will be.

Plan on being heard by marking your calendar to visit your community campus and attend the Kenai Peninsula Economic Outlook Forum.

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