Commission Presents Strategic Development Priorities for Washington County

The Washington County Economic Development Commission (EDC) recently presented its final report on the top five strategic development priorities to the County Board of Commissioners.  The recommendations in the report focus on marketing the county, supporting Hagerstown redevelopment, and workforce initiatives.

As reported by the Herald-Mail,

In the workforce development portion of the presentation, EDC member Bob Jeffers said many high-school graduates seem to be “directionless” after completing the 12th grade, with low numbers of those going on to post-secondary or trade schools to further their skills.

Jeffers said the county should do more with Hagerstown Community College and the University System of Maryland-Hagerstown to promote job training and “soft skills” courses to improve the credentials of jobseekers.

The EDC offered 10 recommendations in support of Hagerstown redevelopment.

1. Revisit the Marsh Run development report
2. Expand The Maryland Theatre
3. Create additional Washington County Public Schools classroom space
4. Build an additional parking deck
5. Renovate the former Barnwood Books property
6. Create a culinary arts/hospitality school
7. Explore establishing a four-year arts college
8. Support participation in Maryland Main Street
9. Explore building an indoor sports arena/aquatic center
10. Establish a Hagerstown Sports Authority

Eleven recommendations were provided to improve countywide marketing.

1. Market to the Government Services Administration
2. Develop cluster-specific marketing collaterals
3. Explore hiring an additional marketing specialist
4. Develop a comprehensive business information database
5. Promote opportunities for all Washington County businesses
6. Promote business opportunities at Fort Detrick
7. Subscribe to the Metropolitan Regional Information System
8. Partner with local stakeholders
9. Develop a cottage-industry guide
10. Develop a new quality-of-life marketing guide
11. Explore web search-engine optimization