Skagit County Economic Clusters Working Groups Update

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

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The Skagit County Economic Clusters Working Groups continue to gain momentum coming out of the late fall and early winter kick-off meetings.

-        Ag, Value-added Ag & Food is developing a county-wide roadmap and framework in an effort to identify what is being done in relation to workforce (including next-generation farmers), water and economic vitality centered on new markets, products and services.

-        Maritime will be rolling out a six-part strategy in an effort to capitalize on the unique opportunities and challenges facing the Skagit County maritime industries.

-        Arts, Culture, Events and Entertainment is working on creating a more cohesive structure for identifying and sharing information with both Skagit and external audiences and synergizing events and arts and culture programming around themes or festivals.

-        Manufacturing and Clean Tech is focused on communicating the value proposition of making things in Skagit County and providing input to existing and emerging workforce development initiatives.    

-        Conservation, Environment and Natural Resources has focused the discussion and emerging strategy on how best to ensure the economic value of conserving the natural beauty and environment of Skagit County is factoring into economic development policy and business decisions.

-        Construction and Real Estate has raised concerns with regard to inconsistent application of local permitting processes and the potential long-term effects of those processes not keeping pace with construction demand. Additionally this group has been instrumental in “stress testing” the properties search function on the EDASC website for site selection and recruitment.

-        Outdoor Rec & Tourism has been an extremely active cluster and while there is incredible value in the synergies of these two clusters we will be separating out these clusters moving forward as independent “Tourism & Hospitality” and Outdoor Rec. Much of the discussion in the cluster to date has been on creating the Tourist Promotion Area, a destination marketing organization, the use of technology in attracting and retaining tourism dollars and how best to communicate the wealth of outdoor recreation opportunities within Skagit County.

-        Critical Infrastructure, IT, Transportation and Logistics has focused primarily on county-wide fiber optic internet and traffic in and around Anacortes and Cook Road. This group will be working towards a creating a process through which the entire community may have greater awareness of proposed or existing critical infrastructure plans, projects or shortfalls.

-        Lenders, Insurance and Financial professionals were instrumental in assisting EDASC evaluate and improve the marketing and execution of the Skagit County Revolving Loan Fund as well as determine ways that EDASC and the Professional Services cluster might better serve the other industry cluster groups and individual organizations in Skagit County.

-        Professional Services will be combined with the Lenders, Insurance and Financial Services Cluster to create the “Finance and Professional Services Cluster” due to common interests in shared cluster goals.

-        Non-profits and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) has created a draft strategic plan focused in two parts—one centered on improving and enhancing existing operations within these organizations and secondly building out opportunities to more effectively communicate the value of non-profits and NGOs for Skagit County businesses and government.  

For more information about the Economic Cluster meetings, contact Andrew Miller.

Category: Economic Development, Working Groups