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Economic Development Program Progress Report

Washington County’s Economic Development Program, launched in 2021, shares the progress made toward enhancing small business support, advancing workforce development efforts and leading new strategic initiatives.
Media release

In their newly released 2021-2023 Progress Report, the County’s Economic Development Program details numerous strategies and initiatives that have been developed to promote equitable economic development strategies countywide, with a strong emphasis on local small businesses and workforce development. These efforts are designed to promote equitable and inclusive economic prosperity throughout Washington County and ensure that all people have access to the resources that they need to thrive. Special attention has been given to unincorporated areas, small cities and communities across the county that were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, including Black, Indigenous, Latinx, immigrants, refugees and other people of color.

Since it was created in 2021, the program’s approach has shifted from a focus on pandemic-related economic recovery to fostering long-term equitable economic resilience. By collaborating closely with community partners, the Economic Development Program has launched several initiatives related to workforce development, small business support, broadband/digital equity and more.

A few of these important initiatives are detailed in the progress report including:

  • Partnerships and capacity building resources for local business support organizations, workforce development institutions and government agencies, to strengthen the economic development ecosystem.
  • Strategic initiatives to promote the advanced manufacturing sector, encourage sustainable development and expand access to affordable broadband internet.
  • Efforts to strengthen the County’s supplier diversity and internship programs.

As stated by Program Manager Matt Craigie, “We have been hustling since day one to ensure that federal COVID-era resources have benefited those businesses and workers most in need here in Washington County. To be clear—this isn’t a pat on our own back, economic development is a team sport. We are humbled by and have much gratitude for all of our hard-working partners that show up day-in and day-out to make Washington County a great place to start or expand a business and to support those looking for an upwardly mobile and meaningful job. I hope that readers of the Progress Report will see how this collaboration between local governments, community organizations, regional institutions, private business and others has led to some remarkable results.”

Board Chair Kathryn Harrington also added her perspective. “This is a very exciting time for Washington County to see the fruits of our efforts coming together in support of our small business community, especially those who have been marginalized and shut out of opportunities in the past. We’re building partnerships and developing pathways for more equitable access to resources that will help the entire community to prosper for years to come.”


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