Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why does McHenry County EDC focus on primary jobs?
A: In an effort to create economic opportunity and wealth generation, McHenry County Economic Development Corporation employs a series of strategies focused on the creation of primary, or base, jobs. Primary jobs are defined as jobs which produce goods and services in excess of what can be consumed by the local market. Those goods not consumed by the local market are exported to other markets in exchange for money, or export income. For example, a McHenry County based company or industry produces more electronic parts than can be consumed, or bought, by its customers in McHenry County. The parts are then "exported" to another market, such as Chicago, and money is returned to McHenry County for the products. This is what creates the flow of new wealth into the community.
While important in an overall economy, the retail sector does not typically create new wealth in our community. This is because retail outlets located within an area are typically exchanging money that has already been "created" by primary employers in that area. It is not "new money."
Q: What are the indirect impacts of new job creation?
A: As a result of creating new jobs, the demand for goods and services generated by the primary employers is increased and "indirect" or "spin-off" jobs are created. These jobs do not create wealth. They are the product of "wealth" created by primary employment. Generally, they are jobs such as retail services, suppliers, lawyers, doctors, non-profit employment, etc. These occupations provide services to primary jobs. They may also include jobs that meet the required "input" needs of primary jobs.
Q: What is industry retention and expansion?
A: Over 80% of all jobs created in a local economy come from existing industry. Any good economic development program has a retention program. For an existing industry retention and expansion program to accomplish its goals, it must have two components:
1. A strategic element that focuses on public infrastructure improvements. Communities with good capital investment programs, attentive training institutions, moderate tax and regulatory environments and affordable housing are always desirable locations. These elements can be achieved with a strong vision from elected officials, government employees and the private sector working jointly. The same things that attract new employers will keep existing firms. McHenry County EDC’s strategic vision and leadership/influence with elected officials and business leaders ensure that we keep our eye on the ball and remain competitive with other markets.
2. Value-added services which are meaningful to the local economy. This requires direct assistance from the local economic development organization. Providing such things as regulatory and training assistance, new business leads, competitor analysis, technology advances, marketing assistance, and so on, provide a needed “value added” service to local employers. A full understanding of “who” are primary employers, their strategic directions and the components of their success help McHenry County EDC customize the types of services provided.
Q: How does MCEDC attract new businesses?
A: Attraction activities usually start with an analysis of targeted industries or “clusters.” This process analyzes the growing industrial segments of the national economy and compares these growth sectors with the local community’s industrial base. It examines why these sectors are growing or not growing in the local community. It determines reasons why some segments are not suited for the local economy (too distant from markets, workforce shortages, etc.) and what gaps might be filled to make the local community more desirable to these companies. It looks at companies that are a “good fit” for the community and that can diversify the local economic base.
Business attraction programs then develop an advertising and marketing effort, usually a combination of the following:
- Web site development
- Print advertising
- Recruitment trips
- Media or CD production
- Economic briefings
- Site selection conference attendance
- Trade show attendance
- Public and media relations
Some marketing methods are more effective than others. The combination used also depends on the available budget. The marketing program aims to generate interest from companies in relocating to the community. The economic development organization then needs to be well positioned to provide information and assistance to those companies.