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On this website, you will find information about Elevate Northeast Florida, the new Regional Economic Development Strategy for Northeast Florida. Elevate Northeast Florida aims to update the region’s previous economic development strategy, Innovate Northeast Florida, and continue the positive economic momentum the region has developed for years to come. 

Stay Updated on Elevate NEFL

As implementation of the Elevate Northeast Florida economic development strategy begins we would like to ensure that all residents have the opportunity to stay up-to-date on important development related to the strategy. If you're interested in learning more about the implementation process or opportunities to get involved please sign up below:

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About Elevate Northeast Florida

The purpose of Elevate Northeast Florida is to continue the region’s positive economic and job growth, and enhance Northeast Florida’s brand in the United States and internationally. Elevate Northeast Florida will focus the economic development efforts of key stakeholders into areas that provide the greatest opportunity for Northeast Florida, and build on past economic development efforts.

The Northeast Florida Regional Council, JAXUSA Partnership, and CareerSource Northeast Florida have engaged Avalanche Consulting and the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) to complete Elevate Northeast Florida.

The strategic planning process will include the following steps:

  • Assemble a regionally diverse Steering Committee consisting of public, private, education, and nonprofit leaders from Northeast Florida with the role of building the framework and facilitating the effort of the strategic plan.

  • Develop an economic assessment and benchmarking analysis of the region to include extensive in-depth stakeholder engagement such as interviews, focus groups, Steering Committee meetings, an online survey, site visits and open houses in each county and attendance at multiple public forums. Elevate Northeast Florida will also include a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis.

  • Validate and update target clusters by determining the types of businesses which have the best potential to thrive in Northeast Florida and provide residents with career opportunities.

  • Create a workforce development strategy to determine what barriers exist that keep Northeast Florida residents from finding employment and identifying a future path that will educate and employ more residents.

  • Provide economic and marketing recommendations based on the findings that will help Northeast Florida continue its positive economic momentum and build its global brand.

Elevate Northeast Florida will begin in February 2018 and is scheduled for completion in September 2018. 

Elevate Northeast Florida Goals

The purpose of creating and implementing the Elevate Northeast Florida economic development strategy is to achieve the following goals:

  • Economic growth: Elevate Northeast Florida will lead to increased economic growth in the region by identifying and capitalizing on regional and county-specific assets.

  • Talent development: Elevate Northeast Florida will lead to a more competitive talent pool and increased employment by connecting residents to jobs, especially in target industries.

  • Brand recognition: Elevate Northeast Florida will result in a marketing and branding campaign that raises awareness of the region’s assets to U.S. and international audiences.

  • Global competitiveness: Elevate Northeast Florida will lead to enhanced global competitiveness by focusing on strategic investments across the region.

News & Reports

Here you'll find more information about media coverage of Elevate Northeast Florida and reports written by the consulting team. We encourage you to download and read our reports and other documentation, and share this information with friends, family, and colleagues. If you'd like to share information about the project on social media we encourage you to use #ElevateNEFL to help spread the word. This section will be updated with more information throughout the strategic planning process. 

Elevate Northeast Florida will be the Northeast Florida region's second, five-year economic development strategic plan. It will be built on the successes of the first economic development strategy, Innovate Northeast Florida, which launched in 2012. Innovate Northeast Florida, the original five-year strategic plan for the region, worked to identify the target industries and sub-clusters that would stimulate future economic growth and create an action plan for growing those industries in the seven-county JAX region. The strategic plan developed a number of accomplishments over the life-cycle of the plan.


Community Survey Results

Elevate Northeast Florida Project Flyer

Regional Forum Workshop - Feb. 22, 2018

Elevate Northeast Florida Economic Assessment & Community Benchmarking: Executive Summary

Elevate Northeast Florida Target Industry Validation and Update: Executive Summary

Elevate Northeast Florida Workforce Development Assessment: Executive Summary

Elevate Northeast Florida Marketing & Strategic Plan: Executive Summary

Elevate Northeast Florida in the News

Jacksonville Daily Record: Group seeks to ‘Elevate Northeast Florida’

Jacksonville Business Journal: JAXUSA Partnership starts process on new strategy for economic development

Jacksonville.com: Report says Northeast Florida can be nation’s no. 1 economy

Project Partners

The Northeast Florida Regional Council (NEFRC) is the regional planning organization for seven Northeast Florida counties (Baker, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, Putnam and St. Johns Counties) and their 27 municipalities. In 2009, NEFRC adopted a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS). Updated in 2012 and 2015, the CEDS buttresses other economic development efforts in the region through identification of programs and projects recognized as being key to achieving economic objectives within the region, as well as serving as an economic roadmap to achieve these objectives. Learn more about the Northeast Florida Regional Council.

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JAXUSA Partnership (JAXUSA) serves as the regional economic development agency coordinating efforts across Baker, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, Putnam and St. Johns counties. A private, nonprofit division of the JAX Chamber, JAXUSA works collaboratively with regional economic and workforce development organizations in Jacksonville and Northeast Florida to market the region and recruit jobs and private capital investment to the area. Learn more about the JAXUSA Partnership.

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CareerSource Northeast Florida, operated by First Coast Workforce Development, Inc., is responsible for providing a trained workforce to the employers in Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau, Putnam and St. Johns Counties. First Coast Workforce Development administers an annual budget of more than $20 million. Learn more about CareerSource Northeast Florida.


Avalanche Consulting is the nation's premier economic development strategist. Avalanche is deeply driven to make a positive impact and seek clients who are equally inspired to energize their economies. Headquartered in Austin, Avalanche was established in 2005 and its team has a combined 80+ years of experience.  Avalanche’s clients include the best performing economies in the country, from towns like Provo, Estes Park, and Sarasota, to metros like Atlanta, Charleston, Charlotte, Columbus, Houston, Miami, and Oklahoma City. Learn more about Avalanche Consulting.

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The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) is a national, non-profit organization whose mission is to put meaningful learning, credentials and work within reach for every community.  CAEL works to remove policy and organizational barriers to learning opportunities, identifies and disseminates effective practices, and delivers value-added services. Since its founding in 1974, CAEL has been providing colleges and universities, companies, economic development organizations, labor organizations and state and local governments with the tools and strategies they need for creating practical, effective lifelong learning solutions to address long term skills needs. Learn more about CAEL.   

Other partners include JEA, the Northeast Florida Regional Transportation Commission, Jacksonville Aviation Authority, Florida Power & Light Company, and Jacksonville Civic Council.

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Amy Holloway, President
Avalanche Consulting
(512) 917-3815

Sarah Miller, Associate VP, Workforce & Economic Development
(312) 499-2672

Cathy Chambers, SVP, Strategy & Business Development
JAXUSA Partnership
(904) 366-6667

Economic Development 101

What is Economic Development?

Economic development is a process of investing in a community to improve its economic prosperity. Economic development includes activities like helping local businesses expand, attracting new businesses into the community, and growing new businesses. Modern economic development efforts are also involved in initiatives to make the community an overall better place for businesses and residents: improvements to quality of life amenities, education and workforce development programs, infrastructure, social equity, and business climate.  The overarching goal of economic development is to create a place where residents have ample opportunities to build their careers and improve the standard of living for themselves and their families.    

Why is Economic Development Important?

By participating in economic development activities, economic developers seek to improve their economy and maintain a greater standard of living in their community. Economic development is important to a community because it improves the health of the economy and well-being of its residents, making the community resilient, even in times of hardship.

Who is in Charge of Economic Development?

Economic development can be led by several types of organizations in a community. Sometimes communities have a dedicated economic development organization (EDO), sometimes the city or county government has an economic development or community development department, or sometimes a chamber of commerce includes economic development among its activities. Other organizations that might be involved are workforce development and education institutions, local governments, state governments, utility companies, community foundations, and convention and visitors bureaus.

Ultimately, economic development success depends on everyone in a community working together to establish a vision and accomplish goals. Even individuals that have nothing to do with an EDO can affect change by being positive spokespersons and volunteering in positive community improvements.