Posted on September 10, 2013 by Wayne Kress
The Kern Economic Development Corporation (KernEDC) is in the background of our local economy, working diligently at stimulating and diversifying a strong economy so your company can thrive. Their official mandate is to create jobs. What it takes to do that may surprise you, and their approach will impress you.
One cool example is found on their website is the slick “Salary Calculator.” It allows you to compare the buying power in Bakersfield of a salary from, say, Anchorage, Alaska. Did you know that the cost of living in Bakersfield is 20% less than in Anchorage? Yep, and it’s 38% less than in San Francisco and 22% less than in Los Angeles. Did you know housing costs 5% less here than in Houston? Or that healthcare costs 3% less here than in Denver? The Salary Calculator reveals all kinds of insights like these about living and working here.
KernEDC is actually a private/public partnership, meaning it is funded by a combination of public entities (like the City of Bakersfield) and private companies (like my company…and yours), although most of their funding comes from the private sector. It came into being in 1988, after our area suffered “dual recessions” in both the Ag and Oil industries. Most of our economic life before then was pretty good. When both ag and oil where buoyant, all was better than pretty good. Even when one was down and the other up, we fared well. But in the ‘80s we experienced a rarity: both were down at the same time…and we suffered. Leaders decided maybe we should build a more diversified economy, and they pointed at the new Frito Lay potato chip plant out near I-5 (1984) and the new Nestle ice cream plant in southwest Bakersfield (1986) as examples of what we should proactively attract. This led to the creation of KernEDC as the vehicle for marketing Kern County, responding to requests from companies canvassing areas like ours for expansion opportunities, and coordinating all the regulatory bodies into a single point of contact for them.
Results? Fast forward to today. Logistics giants Sears, IKEA, Target, and Ross Dress For Less have all located huge distribution centers here, employing thousands. Regular readers of this blog know that 41 companies have now located their west-coast distribution functions in or near our area. Other successes come from Aerospace (Mojave has become the nation’s home of the private space industry—‘nuf said), Healthcare (Kaiser Permanente, Bakersfield Heart Hospital, and Healthsouth’s rehab center), and Value-Added Agriculture (with all the food processing and dairies popping up, mission’s being accomplished).
So why am I telling you all this? Because I want you to join me and invest in KernEDC. If your company is not already doing so, please do. It is an investment in a viable economy that your company depends upon. Check out the existing pool of investors. Growing the economic pie will serve you well and keep Bakersfield and Kern County in the news with state and national headlines like these:
- Kern No. 1 in California for 10 Year Total Personal Income Growth
- Kern No. 1 in California for 10 Year Job Growth
- Kern No. 2 California Metro in Economic Recovery
- Kern No. 2 in California on Milken’s Best Performing Cities List
- Kern No. 3 in Housing Price Gains Forecast
- Bakersfield No. 11 U.S. Growth City
- Bakersfield Among Top 20 Strongest Economies [in nation]
Check out their Investor Benefits. Call Tamara Baker, their investor relations expert, at 661.862.5054.