SWOT analysis was developed by Ken Andrews to help organizations conduct internal audits to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses (Simmering, 2006). It is comprised of a review of the strengths (S), weaknesses (W), opportunities (O), and threats (T) to an organization. The analysis can also be used to analyze communities. Strengths are the capabilities and resources that the community already has. Weaknesses are the lack of capabilities and resources that have a negative impact on the community. Opportunities are areas that the community can improve on to increase their competitive advantage over other communities. The last part is threats which are influences that hurt the community’s ability to improve or grow.
The following sections discuss my SWOT analysis for Vigo County, Indiana.
Although the natural features of Indiana are mostly flat, farm ground, Vigo County is situated along the Wabash River and has several parks and wetlands within the County. These water features and greenspace are very important to the community.
The City of Terre Haute is currently investing in revitalizing the downtown section.
Access to major interstate, I-70, with direct connection to Indianapolis and St. Louis.
Four Universities/Colleges within the County (Indiana State Universities, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Rose Hulman Institute of Technology and Ivy Tech Community College).
Low unemployment rates and low cost of living.
“I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought” (1 Corinthians 1:10, NIV). This verse is one that would serve the politicians in Vigo County well to consider. Lack of cooperative leadership between the City of Terre Haute and the County government is one of the main weaknesses in the community.
Aging homes and buildings and the lack of appealing aesthetics within the County as most homes were built in the 1940s and there was no planning for aesthetics back then.
Low education attainment by the residents (high school diploma only) and the inability to keep university graduates in the community.
With the low unemployment, there is a lack of prepared workforce for technical/innovative jobs.
Previous factories and the waste treatment facility in Terre Haute created a noxious smell within the community. While these facilities are closed, there is still a negative perception of the community by the County’s current residents.
Create curb appeal with new entrance signs to the City of Terre Haute and the County. Replace signs and light poles and plant trees along roadways. As Leigh and Blakely (2017) stated, a visitor can tell a lot about the pride and community spirit of the residents by seeing attractive entrances to/from the community and well maintained greenspace.
Capitalize on the strengths of the universities, high schools and businesses by the following:
Create collaboration between the universities and businesses.
Connect with local unions to develop apprenticeships with the high schools.
Create collaborations between the universities and high schools.
Recruit businesses involved in the life sciences area that can connect with the universities and the two hospitals.
Recruit businesses to locate in existing industrial parks and at the underutilized airport.
Two new businesses have chosen to purchase existing closed factories to locate in. The community can capitalize on this by promoting these businesses choices of reusing shutdown factories.