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Economic Development Program Overview

Washington County is focused on building an equitable economy by recognizing the historic inequities of our economic system and prioritizing investments that seek to mitigate the persistent impact of those inequities.

Equitable Approach and Practices of Economic Development Program

An equitable approach to economic development places emphasis not just on growth but the distribution of that growth and seeks to improve upward economic mobility, offer pathways for all communities to build wealth, and generate opportunities for underserved and marginalized communities—especially Black, Indigenous, Latino/a/e/x and other communities of color including immigrant and refugees who have faced generations of discrimination and disinvestment that continues today.

Our Role:

  • Fostering Collaboration among Local Partners. The County works across jurisdictional boundaries and with multiple communities to take action against shared challenges and advocate for common interests.
  • Problem Solving with Multidisciplinary Expertise. Whether it is housing, transportation, economic development, public health or workforce development, the County convenes leaders and community in addressing complex challenges to reach shared economic prosperity.
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Upward Economic Mobility of Workers

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Resilient Business Support Systems

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Place-Based Strategies for Economic Growth


  • Promote an Equitable Economic Recovery. Federal stimulus dollars, allocated to the County and to local cities, are currently being used to strengthen business support and the local workforce systems and to assess other strategic economic recovery opportunities. For more information visit the County’s ARPA page.
  • Build a Strong Organizational Foundation. As Washington County Economic Development Program started in early 2021, staff is working with stakeholders to identify and establish policies, protocols, and methods that align with the expectations and priorities of the Board of County Commissioners and the capacity and resources available.
  • Build Relationships and Seek Partnership Opportunities. Core to our approach is to center community in shaping our investments, through the lens of racial equity. Through ongoing outreach and regular convening of partners, we seek to strengthen existing relationships with community as well as cultivate new ones.

Working Definitions

Washington County uses the following working definitions in our approach to equitable economic development.

Equitable economic development

Economic development promotes economic well-being and improves quality of life outcomes in communities by creating and retaining jobs, enhancing wealth, and providing a stable tax base. [1] Equitable economic development is achieved when every member of the community is able to share in and benefit from economic growth taking into account historic barriers to access, current conditions, and persistent racial disparities.[2]

Economic resiliency

A community’s ability to foresee, adapt to, and leverage changing economic conditions [3] so that they have the capacity to respond to whatever chronic stresses and acute shocks they experience and emerge stronger, improving the conditions of people’s environments [4] over time.[5]

Capacity building

Capacity building refers to efforts aimed at strengthening an organization’s operations, existing expertise, and resources to increase the quality of service and the number of people served.[6]

Contact us

The Economic Development team works to create and implement equitable economic development plans, programs and services that promote shared economic prosperity in partnership with business support organizations, local cities, and regional economic development agencies.

Our team would love to hear from you! Write us: [email protected]