County economic summit will enlighten

We live in a day and age when many people instinctively believe that a perceived “fact” that supports their bias is the truth.

Therefore, it’s easy for people who dislike our current president to believe that he’s an alien born on Mars because they saw a Facebook post that showed a photo with him standing next to a realistic-looking Martian. Or it’s easy for people who dislike our previous president to believe he was born in Africa (and yes, many still believe that) due to continual “false fact” reports despite the fact that it’s not true and has been, in fact, disavowed (even by the current president) and proven false.

And so it is that many of us (me included), when it comes to our local economy, may suffer under some false “facts” that support beliefs that we just know in our guts have got to be true because we just want them to be true.

And so it is that I call your attention to what promises to be an entertaining and important fact-based event coming up. Called the Grand County Economic Summit, it’s taking place from 1-4 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12 at the Headwaters Center in Winter Park. Put on by the Grand County Department of Economic Development, this conclave may go a long way to confirming or debunking some of the beliefs and myths we hold about the growth of our economy and workforce in Grand County.

Take, for instance, the presentation planned at the event by the Colorado State Demographer. I’ve heard her speak before and I can assure you that the facts she has at her fingertips, bolstered by wise and tempered projections about future growth in Colorado and our region, will be surprising. While the belief in continued growth in Colorado may be backed by the facts, the vagaries of where that growth is likely to take place will probably be surprising to many locals.

Factors such as Front Range demographics, the facts about the habits of our older and retiring population and the impact of the need for workers who probably won’t all be white, natural born Americans will be enlightening, I promise. Check it out.

Or then there are the trends in workforce that many of us here in Grand County are struggling with on a daily basis. The regional workforce expert, Jessica Valand from Colorado Workforce, will be speaking on the challenge of workforce wages and cost of living. She will also present on the way our workforce migrates and the unsettling facts about employee wage data. All these factors will be surprising, especially in how they will inform trends we are already seeing today and which will probably only be amplified in the future.

Any employer thinking hard about how to staff her or his operation in the future will want to attend.

Even more currently important will be the update on the economic development department’s web page called This website, developed with the help of federal planning grants and funding from Freeport McMoran (owner of the Henderson Mine and Mill), helps local employers and employees find each other in an easy-to-use platform. The goal is to make it easier for workers to find jobs and for employers to find workers.

As well, the website will help with that other big problem: Housing. The site aspires to have timely housing options available in a quick search for purchase or for rent, and for most any budget. The goal is to create a housing market place on the site that should make it easier for workers and employers to navigate the demands of worker housing.

So that’s it in a nutshell. Don’t suffer under the belief that this will be just some other humdrum series of presentations. This will be a “fact event” that will open your eyes. It takes place from 1-4 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12 at the Headwater Center in Winter Park and you can register by clicking here.

And there’s more coming up that should be of interest to anyone wanting to see Grand County’s economy develop through innovation. The Grand Innovators are planning an “Energy Innovation Event in Grand County,” set for 6-8 p.m. Sept. 24, also at the Headwaters Center. It will be interesting, I promise. More news is coming up here about Grand Innovators and the upcoming event.

Patrick Brower is the Enterprise Facilitator for the Grand Enterprise Initiative. He offers free and confidential business management coaching to anyone who wants to start or expand a business in Grand County. He can be reached by calling 970-531-0632 or at

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