Priorities / Economic Development
Economic Development and Opportunity
A robust, diverse economy is basic to the overall quality of life for our citizens. Giving economic development high priority is crucial for the creation of good jobs with livable wages. We should encourage innovative approaches such as the Frederick Innovative Technology Center, Inc (FITCI) and the newly formed ROOT Business and Technology Cultivation Center. To build the very best community we can, we must ensure that unnecessary regulation doesn’t impede economic development and, when appropriate, consider special incentives to draw businesses offering abundant and long-term employment opportunities.
Beyond this, economic development doesn’t occur in a vacuum, but is interwoven with other aspects of our community. The best companies with high-paying jobs are attracted to vital, livable communities: that is, communities with good, uncongested roads, as well as easy-to-use and effective public transportation; communities with diverse, affordable housing options along with parks and open/green spaces; communities where the arts thrive alongside other opportunities for recreation and entertainment. As noted elsewhere, these companies are also attracted to communities with excellent schools and a well-educated workforce.
Opportunity for All. Frederick County is a thriving community, but not all of our residents can take full advantage of the opportunities. According to a study conducted by United Way, a third of our county’s population is “Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed,” or ALICE. These are folks who work, work hard, and perhaps work at more than one job. But they are just barely making ends meet. We need to work together as a community to make sure tools are available to them to better their circumstances through the creation of opportunity for all.
Part of the solution is a laser focus on attracting businesses that provide new jobs with livable wages. Another strategy is having a training infrastructure -- affordable high school/college programs, transportation systems to get them there and employers involved in the curriculum-- to fill those well-paying jobs. And while it’s important for the ALICE folks to find more ways to increase their income, we must also work to keep our community as affordable as possible, with more affordable housing options, comprehensive public transit options, readily available services/amenities and the like.
To ensure opportunity for all, our county should be open and welcoming to all, regardless of their place of origin, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity.