The Kaufman Economic Development Corporation is making strides with its long-range master plan.
In 2017, the Kaufman EDC engaged TIP Strategies, an Austin and Seattle based economic developing consulting firm, to assist with the preparation of an economic development strategic plan for the City of Kaufman. The plan maps out the goals and strategies for the EDC and its board for the next several years. The board continues to follow this plan.
Key to this plan was the leadership of several organizations. Each strategy within each goal involves many players, Kaufman EDC, the Kaufman Chamber of Commerce, Kaufman Independent School District, the City of Kaufman and area developers.
This is key because as a city, all are moving toward the same goals for the growth and prosperity for Kaufman.
Some key initiatives that are being focused on are business retention and expansion, workforce, entrepreneurs and growth in the city. For business retention and expansion, the Chamber and the EDC work together to visit area businesses on a regular basis to thank them for doing business in Kaufman and interviewing them about their challenges. The major employers were also given tickets to the Red White & Boom event to share with their employees as a thank you.
Additionally, the EDC contracted with Retail Coach to do a phone survey of travelers heading to the lake to see where they stop along the way. This study is to determine if there are retailers that we could recruit to Kaufman so that these travelers can stop here, rather than further down the road.
The next step is to look into possible suppliers for major employers and if it would make sense for any of them to have their operations in Kaufman.
For manufacturers and other major employers, staffing is often an issue – the right staff with the right skills, to be more precise.
Lately there has been a significant gap in the number of skilled positions open and the number of skilled professionals to fill those positions.
Focusing on shrinking that gap has been the task of the Workforce Task Group that has been meeting since last August. This group includes major employers, the North Central Texas Workforce, Trinity Valley Community College and Kaufman ISD.
These entities have been talking about opportunities to close that gap, as well as recently identifying desired curriculum for the future Workforce Campus that TVCC will have in Kaufman after the nursing school moves to its new location in Terrell. This group will continue to meet to address this challenge.
The City of Kaufman is growing and will continue to do so. Some things that are on the long-term EDC plan are housing and hotels. The City of Kaufman has been working closely with the Georgetown community and at the writing of this article, the contractors are working on the roads in that development. Homes should be in place by the end of the year. As far as the hotels, the EDC voted to do a hotel study earlier this year. The study showed a need for additional hotels in our community and several have shown an interest since the study came out.
These two growth items, as well as high-speed internet, are pieces of the plan that the city is taking the lead on. The Georgetown addition will be a 1 GIG community, and the fiber is already in place. Suddenlink has laid fiber all over Kaufman. They are hoping to go live with this in October 2019.
Another sector of the city’s growth is entrepreneurs. The Small Business Development Center is in the chamber office every week to meet with and assist individuals with building their businesses. They can help with feasibility studies, business plans, finding funding and much more.
Plans are to get these individual business owners together to share what worked and what didn’t to make them all stronger.
The mission of the Kaufman EDC is to bring wealth to the community and to help it grow. The long-range plan that was set before the board offers a great path to follow to look forward to the future of Kaufman.