Northern Opportunity: Alaska’s Economic Strategy is a five-year economic development plan for the state of Alaska. Driven by the need to improve the resiliency of the state’s economy and intentionally lay a foundation for future growth, this plan follows the US Economic Development Administration’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) framework. It is the first statewide CEDS developed for Alaska.
The decline in oil prices in 2014-2015 made clear the need for a coordinated statewide economic development strategy, as Alaska’s economy has seen significant contraction. Employment in oil and gas extraction, construction, business services, state government, and others have seen sharp drops. At the same time, a thriving entrepreneurship scene as well as healthy seafood, visitor, mining, and health care sectors provide a basis for optimism. The state’s abundant natural resources and recent oil discoveries also point to opportunities for growth. This plan thus comes together in the spirit of optimism, to capitalize on strengths as well as mitigate challenges to economic resilience.
Northern Opportunity: Alaska’s Economic Strategy is the result of eight months of extensive outreach which reflects the input of communities, businesses, public entities, non-profits, tribal organizations, and individual Alaskans. Information for this project was gathered through research, a series of community forums in every region of the state, business forums, and two online surveys; one directed to individual Alaskans and the other toward business leaders.