Caroline County Economic Development
CCED News

Key Takeaways from the IEDC Conference

I recently had the opportunity to attend the International Economic Development Council’s annual conference in Philadelphia. The conference provides economic developers with information about best practices, new technologies, and networking opportunities. Here are my top three takeaways from the conference:

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Workforce development is the #1 priority for the country’s most successful economic development organizations.

Successful economic development organizations have learned that the best way to keep businesses in their area and to attract new ones is to provide a talented, dynamic workforce. This is an ongoing effort. Technologies and markets are ever-changing, so training programs and educational initiatives must keep pace.

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Traditional economic development incentives are not very effective.

Presenter Henry Loewendahl, an expert in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), presented statistical data about the efficacy of traditional incentives such as tax breaks and cash grants. The data clearly show that these incentives have little impact on a company’s site selection for expansion or relocation. The number one factor that does influence site selection? The quality and supply of the local workforce.

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Regional branding and cooperation is increasingly necessary for economic development success.

A successful local economy requires great infrastructure, leading workforce development programs, and top-notch branding and PR (you have to let the world know that your region is a great place to do business). All of these things are expensive. A more regional approach to economic development maximizes resources and achieves better results than a city or county going it alone. This is especially true in a rural area like Caroline County and the greater Eastern Shore region.

Do any of these findings surprise you? I was surprised to learn just how ineffective traditional incentives are. This information and the other key takeaways will help shape CEDC priorities and focus our efforts.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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