The Strategic Plan

Unprecedented Opportunities

Rapid City’s economic prospects are better today than at any point in recent history, as the number and value of building permits certainly can attest. We are an incredibly diverse, hardworking community blessed with an outstanding quality of life. And, we are ideally positioned to reap the benefits of Ellsworth Air Force Base, Sanford Underground Research Lab and the SD School of Mines and Technology.

Among our assets, one would consider low taxes, a good mix of profitable and civic-minded businesses, a thriving downtown, effective city governance, safe neighborhoods, excellent K-12 and post-secondary schools, low crime and plenty of recreational opportunities. These make Rapid City an attractive place to live, work, and raise a family. Not surprisingly, South Dakota was recently recognized as the second most business friendly state by 24/7 Wall Street, as well as having the fifth best quality of life among all fifty states, by US News and World Report. As the second largest city in the state, our region is well positioned to capitalize on the opportunities coming our way, and more importantly, those we are creating for ourselves and future generations.

 

Special Challenges To Reaching Our Potential

While Rapid City and the Black Hills clearly enjoy tremendous economic and community advantages, at the same time we face significant challenges to sustaining these advantages and significant challenges to realizing the vast economic opportunities that await us:

 

UPGRADING OUR COMPETITIVENESS IN THE REGIONAL, STATE AND NATIONAL MARKETPLACE FOR NEW BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES

If Rapid City is to effectively compete for and win new business opportunities, then we must upgrade our competitive position in terms of the product we offer and the methods by which we identify, market, sell and service the prospective business.

 

RETAINING AND SIGNIFICANTLY EXPANDING THE REGION’S PRIMARY JOB DRIVERS INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO MANUFACTURERS, MEDICAL TECHNOLOGY AND HEALTH INDUSTRIES, RESEARCH AND ENERGY

We must create more wealth-creating, dollar-importing, large ripple effect jobs (i.e., primary jobs) in our strongest industry clusters. By doing so, we will inject a higher level of earnings and capital investment into our area economy and reduce “brain drain” – the term used most often in communities where recently educated youth leave the community for better opportunities. In fact, we should anticipate “brain gain” instead by improving our amenities, quality of life, and opportunities for gainful employment.

 

IMPROVING OUR WORKFORCE AND RETAINING OUR TALENT

For the first time in thirty years, the most important factor affecting company growth is the availability of a skilled and available workforce, according to Area Development Magazine’s survey of site selectors. Communities across the nation are creating innovative approaches to address this challenge because to do otherwise is to ensure stagnation and decline.