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  • Una Wirkebau

#WhyNotWinslow


The Future of Work. There has been a shift in the who’s, what’s and how’s of workforce these past few years, with our recent pandemic pushing the envelope of change. Our remote, rural area has not felt these affects as dramatically as more urban environments, but this quintessential shift in behaviors is happening across the globe. This past week, Mayor Cano and I were honored to be invited, along with 20 other Mayors and City Staff from around the country, to the National League of Cities “Future of Cities” Summit, in Utah. How entrepreneurial city leaders can shape the future of work, now.



There are 19,000 cities, towns, and villages spanning the US, each with unique economic circumstances shaped by historical, geographic, and demographic factors. Though metro areas with dense clustering of talent and other economic assets remain a fundamental driver of innovation, communities such as those found in Northern Arizona, also play a critical role in the shaping of opportunities and culture. There are major shifts in the balance of industries and regional opportunities. This is reflected most directly with employment in goods -producing industries which fell from 37 to 14%, causing a dramatic decline in manufacturing, felt in many small towns. On the flip side, service producing industries have increased from 50 to 71% of the workforce. City leaders today are tasked with these disruptive challenges and require outside the box thinking; bold ideas, requiring agility and adaptability which will test innovative solutions and may need policy updates as well as public – private partnerships to be effective.


There are four areas of action defined in this report, including; OPPORTUNITY -bringing economic development into the 21st century, TALENT -preparing our workforce to meet the moment, PLACE -cities for people, SOCIAL INFRASTRUCTURE – creating a more equitable, resilient and dynamic workforce. “City leaders have an opportunity to dream and reimagine the human experience of their communities through big and small innovations that will spur inclusive economic opportunity” Change is hard, but you should be proud of those who are taking charge to ensure our region thrives during this fundamental shift of social infrastructure.


The next ten years will shape the next hundred. Join us Thursday the 15th from 6 to 8 pm at the Winslow High School Performance Arts Center, to learn about new jobs, housing and education coming to our region, a reflection of the determination of your city leaders to ensure the vitality of Northern Arizona.


- Una

Una@WhyNotWinslow.com

  • Una Wirkebau

#WhyNotWinslow


Have you ever heard of the League of Arizona Cities and Towns? This entity was formed in 1937, when there were only 190,000 residents in the state. The league is a voluntary membership organization that exists to provide vital services and tools to its members, focusing principally on representing the interests of Arizona's 91 cities and towns before the Legislature: and secondarily on providing technical and legal assistance, coordinating shared services, and producing high-quality conferences and trainings.



This past week Winslow, Holbrook, Snowflake, Pinetop, Flagstaff, Page, Sedona, Verde Valley and more in Northern Arizona, have participated in the annual League event in Glendale. Twenty cities and towns have played host to the League Annual Conference. From its humble beginnings, the League conference has grown to the largest municipal event of the year in Arizona – drawing more than 1,000 delegates and guests each year. Because of its size, the only facilities capable of hosting the Annual Conference are in Tucson and the Phoenix area.

One of the most popular activities is the Showcase of Cities and Towns, where communities spotlight their history, programs, or activities for conference attendees. There is also an array of sessions you can join, to learn about things which matter most to your community.


Some of the conversations this year included short term rentals, mental health, and civil discourse. These gatherings not only bring updated information about state policies, but also provide an opportunity to meet and engage with other cities across the state. Collaboration with other communities is imperative for our towns to prosper. We can learn so much from one another, leverage our mutual assets, combine regional interests, and more.


The AZ League of Cities not only facilitates these interactions, but during events like the one last week, allows for Mayors and Council from just about all the Cities around the State, to meet and discuss and exchange ideas: all a vital component to economic growth in communities both rural and urban. I know Mayor Cano was present, as were our local councilwomen and some staff. Holbrook’s newly elected Mayor Smith was also on hand to grow her list of contacts for potential educational opportunities and collaborative partnerships. These conferences offer long days, with little to no time to follow up on obligations; I encourage you to thank your participating elected officials and staff, for going above and beyond to ensure your community is set on a path for success.


- Una

UWirkebau@WinslowAZ.gov

  • Una Wirkebau

#WhyNotWinslow


Housing, jobs, education = these are all aspects of a vibrant economy, they are also challenges, our rural communities have been facing for years. Winslow and Holbrook have been historically neglected during discussions of funding for infrastructure and development; there are a number of reasons why, and not one person is to blame. Sadly, this crisis is one felt in rural towns across America. Luckily that dynamic is changing in our neck of the woods. Professionals are deciding that small towns may offer more than big city life. Why have a commute time of several hours a day when you can open your own business within walking distance of your home; allowing for greater family time and more quality “me” time.


Winslow has long been a great destination, but because of our decertified levee, new homes and businesses have been few and far between. This past year has brought about several changes which are already making a large impact. We now have a new President at NPC who is determined to make a positive impact on education in the region. Navajo County has received funding to repair our levee, which will not only bring jobs over the next 5 years but will also change the dynamic of insurance costs and building requirements. There are also a handful of engaged and willing development partners who want to work with our communities for the greater good, bringing a variety of housing options, workforce solutions, and education to retain the interest of our students to stay in town and work for living wage incomes. Our entrepreneurs will be positively affected as well. Visitors will stay longer, spending money at local shops and eateries. There will be new opportunities for those inclined to expand their current ideas or grow their businesses. Individuals with trade skills will have plenty of growth potential as well. Are you a welder? An electrician? Great! New RFP’s will be consistent within the City of Winslow as well as other communities as our growth continues, and we seek experts to fill short term assignments.


This is a very exciting time to be in Northern Arizona, especially for those who are seeking to learn and prosper. Remember, “It’s only after you’ve stepped outside your comfort zone that you begin to change, grow and transform” – Roy T. Bennett


For those interested in learning more about new developments coming our way, there will be two meetings in September. One from 10 to Noon at La Posada on the 13th, the other from 6 to 8 pm at the PAC at the Winslow High School – be sure to stay tuned to @WhyNotWinslow on FB for updates.


- Una,

UWirkebau@WinslowAZ.gov