Summit speaker: Cluster process can help economy

A Pacific Northwest industry leader says Southeast Alaska’s cluster initiative could create jobs and grow the economy.

Dave Klick of the Northwest Food Processors Association has been active in his region’s cluster efforts.

Cluster groups bring together industry members, government agencies and supporters to

Dave Klick of the Northwest Food Processors Association addresses the summit. Ed Schoenfeld photo.

come up with new ways of developing, manufacturing and marketing products. They’re a little like a task force.

Klick says Northwest efforts show cluster groups work.

“We’ve seen 600 jobs in the last four years that were created or saved, improved productivity of $13 million, over $100 million of cost avoidance. And political clout cannot be underscored,” he says.

Klick spoke at today’s Southeast Economic Summit at Juneau’s Centennial Hall, organized by the Juneau Economic Development Council.

The Southeast cluster effort is looking at the region’s visitor, forest and ocean products industries. It’s also looking at how to develop a renewable energy industry.

The summit gives cluster-group members a chance to compare notes and focus their lists of initiatives.