In terms of Colorado’s economic development, the Health and Wellness Industry represents both vitally important infrastructure and robust opportunity. That’s the key finding of the Colorado Health Institute’s newest report, “Healthy Economy, Healthy Colorado: A Strategic Action Plan for Colorado’s Health and Wellness Industry.”
Last spring, the Office of the Governor and the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade commissioned us to create a strategic plan for the Health and Wellness industry. As many will remember, Governor Hickenlooper began his first term by initiating a grassroots approach to economic development. The Colorado Blueprint identified 14 industries that could, with proper support and investment, represent significant growth opportunities for Colorado. Health and Wellness was one of those 14 industries. The Colorado Health Institute provided the research, analytical support and legwork to bring the strategic plan to fruition.
Seven months later, we are proud to release the report, including a series of recommendations that together form an economic development action plan. These recommendations surfaced through a series of stakeholder discussions and meetings across the state. In other words, the community representing health and wellness created these ideas. This action plan has the potential to serve as a true economic driver for Colorado in the coming decade.
High level recommendations include:
- Position health and wellness as an export business by developing products and services that can be marketed and sold nationally and internationally.
- Leverage business opportunities created by a significant increase in the number of people with health insurance and a growing demand for wellness services.
- Establish collaborative workforce strategies and educational programs that reflect current and future needs of health and wellness employers.
- Invest in creating high-paying, high-demand jobs, such as those in health care information technology.
- Build infrastructure and support for established companies and start-ups, especially in the wellness sector.
These recommendations – and how we as a community arrived at them – are detailed in our new report. As we move forward to build a stronger Colorado, the health and wellness industry will inevitably play a role. Our hope is that this report lends momentum to Colorado’s work.