Challenges for the local and national economies will be outlined Thursday afternoon at the 23rd University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Economic Forum, director Tatiana Bailey said.
“We’re starting to see some darkening clouds on the horizon for the economy,” Bailey said.
Alison Felix, vice president, economist and lead executive for the Denver branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, will headline the event and address mostly national trends and forecasts, Bailey said. Felix has given economic forecasts in Colorado Springs multiple times in recent years.
“We thought the timing (of Felix’s address) would be particularly good from the perspective of the Federal Reserve,” Bailey said.
Bailey said she will speak to the local economy, particularly focusing on the next five to 10 years.
Preparing for the forum, Bailey focused on major challenges for the Pikes Peak region economy: affordable housing, workforce shortages, environmental sustainability and infrastructure.
In addition, differing ideologies will likely come into play, she said.
“It’s one of our biggest challenges,” she said. “Being so spread apart in the political spectrum.”
But those challenges also come alongside local economic opportunities, Bailey said.
Opportunities include: high-growth industries; how cities define themselves and attract new talent and businesses; partnerships between businesses, government, education and training systems; and the inward migration of educated people.
The forum will also feature a question-and-answer session with Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, El Paso County commissioner Stand VanderWerf and Andrew Gunning, executive director of the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments.
The event’s master of ceremonies will be Samuel Elliott, chief revenue officer of Pineapple Labs, a startup specializing in connecting real estate agents and photographers.
The forum will be held from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Ent Center for the Arts, 5225 N. Nevada Ave., on the UCCS campus. Registration for the event costs $80 ($100 for those receiving continuing education credits). Additional information can be found at uccseconomicforum.com.