Focus Area - Economic Diversification

This section addresses the following items identified in the SWOT analysis:

Vision Statement

The economy of the region is too reliant upon the oil and natural gas production industry cluster, government spending and agriculture. These industries are inherently, either volatile or heavily influenced by outside forces beyond local control.

Goals/Objectives

1. Diversify industries throughout the district to minimize the impact of downturns in clusters, reductions in government spending, and be more resilient to hazards.

2. Expand value-added opportunities not tied to cluster specific expansion or contraction.

3. Promote the recruitment of industries that utilize local natural resources.

4. Promote the use of existing local infrastructure and talent to recruit industries.

Implementation Activities

1. Pursue a feasibility study of industries that consume large volumes of natural gas and would be a good fit for the region. Consider industries that possess value added potential.

2. Pursue financial support for a study to determine the cost and benefits of additional crop irrigation activities that supports increased production.

3. Research local opportunities to expand value added industries related to cotton over the next 5-years, cottonseed, cottonseed oil, or by-products of processing these raw materials.

4. Provide technical support to ongoing local efforts around protecting the mission at Altus Air Force Base.

5. Explore funding opportunities that would assist in the expansion of airframe mechanic training or other essential jobs located on Altus Air Force base by the end of 2021.

6. Support the efforts of Southwest Technology Center during 2021 of pursuing an Aviation Workforce Development Grant Program.

Measurable Outcomes

Growth in both the number of aeronautics industry companies and employment in this industry will be the ultimate measure of the activities proposed. Expansion of the cotton industry or related value-added products will measure the success of the conservation efforts and the research into related opportunities. The conservation efforts will also help the region combat the effects of natural disaster affecting the industry and potentially increase tourism opportunities. Natural gas usage expansion would not rely on the drilling and production side of the industry but take advantage locally of the natural resource with lower costs of transportation. All these efforts would culminate in less reliance on one industry cluster, while better utilizing strengths, and taking advantage of opportunities. This would be measured long-term in the region’s economic growth and resiliency to economic downturn.