BLACKFOOT — Bingham Economic Development Corporation's first Economic Symposium Thursday highlighted potentials for economic growth in Bingham County and throughout Southeast Idaho.
Speaking at the symposium, Dan Cravens, regional economist for the Idaho Department of Labor, said Southeast Idaho has drawn interest from numerous employers and said Blackfoot is located in the center of growth between Idaho Falls and Pocatello.
"We see a constant flow of companies from out-of-state interested in Southeast Idaho," Cravens said. "We have a very quality workforce. That reputation is getting around."
Cravens said Blackfoot is at the "hub of a corridor of opportunity" and major employers like Allstate and Areva are creating jobs for people in Bingham County.
"What is good for Pocatello, good for Blackfoot, good for Idaho Falls is good for all of us," he said, adding that the region's unemployment rate has declined more than one-half of a percent in the past six months. Cravens said he expects to see that number continue to decline as Allstate completes hiring and Hoku continues to add jobs.
The featured speaker at the symposium was Dr. Gary Rhoads from Brigham Young University's Entrepreneurial and Technology Department. In his presentation Rhoads discussed ways small businesses can successfully design and market themselves and their products for increased sales and revenue.
Attendee Ron Romrell, vice president and general manager of Alliance Title & Escrow Corp. in Blackfoot, said he attended the symposium because he was interested in learning about ideas and opportunities for growth.
"I'm just interested in the development of the community," he said.
Ashlee Howell, executive director of the Blackfoot Community Center, said she was interested in the symposium as the leader of a non-profit organization because businesses and non-profits alike need to work together for economic growth.
Butch Hulse, director of Bingham Economic Development Corporation, said the symposium was a success and he hopes to be able to offer an economic symposium annually—if not more often—to be able to bring in various experts to discuss economic growth and development.