On January, 19, 2012, the Charture Institute organized the first annual “22 in 21: Jackson Hole’s Economy in the 21st Century” forum (the “22” refers to Teton County’s identifying number on Wyoming’s license plates).
Over 125 people joined us to take the first steps in helping create a 21st century economy which complements our values, character, and resources.
Below, you’ll find 22 in 21’s agenda, as well as the welcoming letter by Jonathan Schechter, Charture’s Executive Director. On this website’s other pages, you’ll find more information about 22 in 21 (and follow-up steps coming out of the forum), more about the Charture Institute and 22 in 21’s sponsors, and videos of each of 22 in 21’s speakers and breakout group presentations.
If you’d like more information about 22 in 21, sign up to join our e-mail list.
We who live in the Tetons region enjoy an embarrassment of riches. Simply put, no other place in the world shares our extraordinary combination of human, financial, and environmental resources.
Welcome Letter by Jonathan Schechter, Charture’s Executive Director
Today, we also enjoy a once-in-generations opportunity; an opportunity which, paradoxically, has arisen from the recession.
The 2008 recession marked an inflection point in the local economy. For two generations, the Tetons region enjoyed a thriving real estate and development industry. In return, the building trades formed the bedrock of the region’s middle class, supporting the community as the community supported it.
The building trades have been the biggest casualties of the recession, though, and it’s unlikely they’ll ever regain their long-held prominence.
This reality begs the question of “What next?” Going forward, what – if anything – will fill the void left by the collapse of the building trades and, with it, the core of the region’s middle class?
This question has no easy answers. But therein lies the opportunity, for it has been at least two generations since Tetons residents have had a meaningful chance to think about what they would like their economic future to look like, or how they might bring that future about.
Hence “22 in 21: Jackson Hole’s Economy in the 21st Century.” Today’s forum gives residents of the Tetons region – not just Jackson Hole, but the larger community found in two states and three counties – the chance to consider and begin answering a question fundamental to the region’s future: “Can we identify and begin to craft a 21st century economy which complements Teton County’s values, character, and resources?”
The key word here is “begin.” Like communities, economies are always evolving, always engaged in an ever-changing process which is never complete. But the recession presents the Tetons region the opportunity to begin asking what kind of economy we want in the 21st century. By extension, we can also begin asking what steps we can take – both today and over the longer run – to start creating an economy which complements the region’s extraordinary human, financial, and environmental resources.
This is the purpose of 22 in 21. On behalf of the Charture Institute’s board of directors, we welcome you to this first annual event. Thank you for coming; we’re thrilled you’re here.