PLATTSBURGH - The Adirondack Young Professionals, a group which "seeks to create networking opportunities for young professionals in the North Country," hosted its second annual Economic Development and Talent Retention Forum at Olive Ridley's Feb. 11. During the forum, several issues were discussed among a panel of elected officials and community leaders, including what can be done to attract and retain young professionals in the region.
Susan E. Matton, vice president of economic development for the Plattsburgh-North Country Chamber of Commerce, stated her belief in the importance of economic development, a sentiment echoed by her fellow panelists throughout the evening. While other parts of the country are struggling with the national recession, the North Country has been somewhat sheltered from the economic storm because of its understanding of the importance of continued economic development, she said.
"Our economy here has held strong," said Matton. "That gives us job opportunities and keeps young professionals like you here."
Plattsburgh Town Supervisor Bernard C. Bassett, who also served as a panelist said it was up to local governments to collaborate to make opportunities for economic development available. Those opportunities, he added, ultimately equate to more jobs and more people - including young professionals - locating to the area.
"We need to share and continue to share services and resources," said Bassett. "We're not just competing with Vermont and Franklin County or Albany or New York City for crying out loud, we're competing globally. We're poised for incredible growth but we need to continue investing in infrastructure."
Another panelist, Victoria Zinser Duley, economic development specialist with the Technical Assistance Center at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh, said she was pleased with how the region's strengths, such as educational and recreational opportunities, were discussed. However, she also liked how areas thought to need improvement, such as social gathering spots and arts and cultural opportunities, were also highlighted.