Economic development activities in a community are intended to serve the needs of local residents and businesses. To achieve this goal, the strategic planning process must be inclusive and directly listen to the stories of as diverse a group of stakeholders as possible. These Sonoma County voices will play a critical role in identifying their needs and the creative solutions to meet those needs.
nclusive Economic Development was a primary theme of the 2016 Sonoma-Mendocino CEDS, and Strategic Sonoma has worked towards inclusion from initiation. Avalanche Consulting and the Sonoma County EDB engaged residents and businesses through a variety of avenues – workshops, focus groups, tours, in-person and telephone interviews, surveys, and conversations in every district of Sonoma County. Throughout this process, the team strove to include a broad diversity of perspectives. The strategic planning team could not reach every individual in the county, but Strategic Sonoma emphasizes the importance of inclusion throughout implementation and everyday activities. Planning decisions should be made in an open and transparent manner, and implementation organizations should continue efforts to meet with and include organizations and individuals across Sonoma County – especially among Latinos, disabled, elderly, and other groups not reached in this initial process.
Through the planning process, the consulting team spoke directly to nearly 200 individuals representing more than 140 organizations from across the county, including: