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Since its inception in 1954, Southern Nevada’s primary economic development organization has had three names.
First it was the Nevada Development Authority, then briefly the Las Vegas Regional Development Council. In February of this year, it was rebranded the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance.
But the new name isn’t the only change the group hopes to bring about.
Creating, attracting and keeping jobs are the most basic functions of economic development engines, but the newly named alliance wants to take its efforts a step further by uniting community organizations, fostering targeted industries and shifting its focus from California to the world.
Unlike previous iterations, the organization takes stances on legislative issues. In February, the executive committee endorsed Assembly Bill 443, which would allow the Clark County Commission to raise fuel taxes based on inflation and use the revenue for transportation projects.
It also plans to take sides on education.
The organization focuses on developing the economies of Las Vegas, Clark County, Henderson, North Las Vegas, Boulder City, Mesquite and Nye County. It works closely with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development to deliver business incentives including tax abatements and training and hiring grants.
“The spirit of cooperation we’ve been able to create is unprecedented in this community,” Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance CEO Tom Skancke, CEO said. “There literally isn’t an organization we haven’t touched or talked to.”
In creating an economic development strategy, the alliance consulted more than 300 organizations, ranging from government agencies to private businesses to universities and nonprofits, with whom it maintains ongoing conversations.
The alliance is a public-private partnership with an annual budget of $5.4 million. Of that, $1.5 million comes from the state and $1.4 million comes from existing members. The group is working to raise the final $2.5 million.
Switch is the alliance’s largest donor, with notable supporters including Bank of America, Wells Fargo, NV Energy, the Regional Transportation Commission, The Capitol Co., Fennemore Craig Jones Vargas attorneys, Originate, Velstand Investments LLC, The Howard Hughes Corp., the city of Las Vegas and Clark County. Switch also provides the alliance’s office space.
From talks with community partners, the alliance was able to set goals and identify seven target industries: technology; renewable energy; gaming, tourism and conventions; logistics, manufacturing and assembly; health care and life sciences; international business; and aerospace, defense and unmanned aerial vehicles.
Skancke said Las Vegas’ greatest obstacles are developing an educated work force and fostering jobs in science, technology, engineering and math.
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