Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Strate­gic Plan now avail­able on­line

Maryland Independent - - News -

This week, the Depart­ment of Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment re­leased its Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Strate­gic Plan, a five-year ac­tion plan to in­crease the county’s long-term eco­nomic pros­per­ity. The plan is avail­able for on­line view­ing at www. MeetCharlesCounty.com. The county de­vel­oped the plan in part­ner­ship with De­vel­op­ment Coun­sel­lors In­ter­na­tional (DCI), one of the coun­try’s lead­ing eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and tourism mar­ket­ing firms, and Gar­ner Eco­nomics, LLC, spe­cial­ists in site se­lec­tion, in­dus­try tar­get­ing, and or­ga­ni­za­tional de­vel­op­ment.

The strate­gic plan in­cludes more than a dozen rec­om­men­da­tions to im­prove the county’s com­pet­i­tive­ness, strengthen ex­ist­ing busi­nesses, and iden­tify new in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties.

High­lights from the plan in­clude a com­pre­hen­sive, an­a­lyt­ics-based up­date and ra­tio­nale for a new set of tar­get in­dus­tries, in­clud­ing new in­dus­try sec­tors.

The plan iden­ti­fies key tar­get in­dus­try groups that best match Charles County’s com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tages. The county will fo­cus on fu­ture busi­ness ex­pan­sion, re­ten­tion, and at­trac­tion ef­forts to­ward com­pa­nies in the fol­low­ing four in­dus­tries: fed­eral con­tract­ing and high-value pro­fes­sional/busi­ness sup­port ser­vices; health ser­vices; en­tre­pre­neur­ial and re­tail de­vel­op­ment; and re­search, de­vel­op­ment, en­gi­neer­ing, and com­put­ing.

The plan in­cludes a snap­shot of the county’s over­all com­pet­i­tive­ness based on Gar­ner Eco­nomics’ re­search, anal­y­sis, and feed­back from stake­hold­ers. Gar­ner Eco­nomics con­ducted an in-depth as­sess­ment of the county’s com­pet­i­tive­ness, which in­cluded a de­mo­graphic and eco­nomic anal­y­sis, la­bor mar­ket and clus­ter anal­y­sis, com­par­i­son of bench­marked com­mu­ni­ties, and a com­mu­nity as­sets and chal­lenges as­sess­ment. Gar­ner Eco­nomics gath­ered stake­holder in­put through four fo­cus group sessions in October 2015, fol­lowed by a county-wide elec­tronic sur­vey com­pleted by 510 res­i­dents. Th­ese find­ings helped re­de­fine the county’s tar­get in­dus­tries, and serve as the ra­tio­nale for the strate­gic rec­om­men­da­tions de­tailed in the plan.

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