Inside your county government
Economic Development Strategic Plan: A proactive approach to shaping our future
Businesses and job prosperity help communities flourish and foster a sense of local pride. Our businesses have a direct impact on residents by providing essential services, creating jobs and promoting quality of life. To support long-term economic prosperity, the Charles County Department of Economic Development released a five-year Economic Development Strategic Plan. The goal of the strategic plan is to create economic opportunity for residents by increasing the amount of high-paying jobs, encouraging local investment and growing the county’s commercial tax base. The plan provides actions — “transformational initiatives” — to help us reach our goal.
The Department of Economic Development developed the plan in partnership with Development Counsellors International (DCI), one of the country’s leading consulting firms in economic development and tourism marketing consultants, and Garner Economics LLC, a team specializing in site selection, industry targeting and organizational development.
The report begins with a snapshot of the county’s overall competitiveness based on Garner Economics’ research, analysis and stakeholders’ feedback. These findings help redefine the county’s target industries and serve as the rationale for the plan’s strategic recommendations. Highlights include: Redefined target industries The plan identifies target industr y groups that “best match the unique competitive advantages” of Charles County. The plan will focus on future business expansion, retention and attraction efforts toward companies in the following categories:
• Federal contracting and high value professional/business services, such as technical consulting services, and facilities and business support services;
• Health services, such as offices of physicians, diagnostic labs, health education and residential care facilities;
• Entrepreneurial and retail development, such as co-working centers, specialty stores, hotels and restaurants;
• Research and development, engineering and computing, such as scientific research, engineering services, computer-related industries and specialty manufacturing.
Recommendations to improve Charles County’s competitiveness
DCI and Garner Economics developed 18 recommendations to improve the county’s competitiveness, strengthen existing businesses and identify new investment opportunities, which fall into three main areas:
Product improvements: Strengthen the county’s infrastructure and talent pipeline to help the county attract the region’s most talented people and companies. Ideas include infrastructure improvements, free public highspeed internet access and redevelopment of commercial corridors.
Organizational adjustments: Changes and enhancements to county government to provide more seamless services and support existing businesses and companies interested in investing in the county. Recommendations include reorganizing the department and advocating for a realistic and sustainable incentive policy.
Marketing: Adjustments and enhancements to the county’s ongoing, award-winning program launched in partnership with DCI, and to the adoption of tactics to complement the new targets and economic development strategy.
The strategic plan will be used as a tool to enhance our county’s economic future and increase the vitality of our residents. The Department of Economic Development is excited to launch this collaborative effort as we look for ward into the next five years. View the strategic plan online at www.MeetCharlesCounty.com.
Darrell Brown is director of Charles County Department of Economic Development.