Today 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 Strategic 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.
“We are taking a professional and inclusive approach towards planning our economic future. A strategic guide with concrete action steps will ensure our efforts have benchmarks and a roadmap for achieving the Commissioner’s goal of expanding the county’s commercial and industrial employment and tax base,” said County Administrator Michael D. Mallinoff.
“The plan represents a monumental shift in the way Charles County approaches economic development and building prosperity for our community, where decisions are based on data and research, and are not merely anecdotally driven,” said Darrell A. Brown, director for the Department of Economic Development and representative member of the Charles County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.
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 competiveness, 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.