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Regional Economic Development Strategy Leaders Adopt First-Ever Goals and Principles for the DMV

Focusing on innovation, talent, and capacity building to position the DMV for long-term equitable economic success


MARCH 11, 2021 -- The Connected DMV Regional Economic Development Strategy (REDS) Steering Committee, composed of 23 leaders from across the Washington area, has announced a set of core goals and guiding principles to align leaders across government, industry, academia, philanthropy, and community organizations. This marks the first time that leaders across public, private, academia, and civil society have come together to lay out economic development goals and guiding principles for the region.

These goals and guiding principles will guide the formation and prioritization of regional economic development collaboration and joint program initiatives. The REDS Working Group, composed of volunteers from 14 organizations, is conducting research and developing recommendations for the Steering Committee’s approval, for an actionable strategy to be released in April 2021.

COVID-19 has highlighted the shared challenges of the Greater Washington regional economy and further exposed long-standing economic inequities. In response, leaders across the region have come together to evaluate how cooperation, integrated planning, and economic development can advance regional competitiveness and improve economic opportunities as we recover from the pandemic.

“Approving the goals and principles of a regional economic development strategy illustrates the kind of progress we are making in creating a true DMV collaboration, and I thank my colleagues from all parts of the region for the work they are putting into this effort to create an actionable strategy that diversifies our region's economic base and achieves inclusive, equitable economic growth and resilience,” said Victor Hoskins, President and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, who also serves as the COVID-19 Renewal Task Force Champion for REDS.

In July 2020, the COVID-19 Strategic Renewal Task Force recommended the creation of the REDS initiative as regional leaders recognized the need to develop an enduring mechanism for driving equitable economic renewal and collaboration on inherently regional aspects of economic development.

“Building upon previous regional efforts, REDS brings together the key functions and organizations that drive our region’s economic growth,” said Stu Solomon, President and CEO of Connected DMV. “REDS brings a collaborative and persistent model to position the DMV to be one of the most equitable and competitive regions in the country.”

REDS Steering Committee members include five economic development leaders representing stakeholders from all jurisdictions across the DMV (District of Columbia, suburban Maryland, and Northern Virginia); and leaders representing regional organizations, industry, academia, philanthropy, and civil society. The Steering Committee has convened four times over the last five months to design the foundation for a sustainable collaboration to enable shared functions and joint actions to advance inclusive economic growth in the DMV. An overarching theme in each discussion is the call to improve economic mobility and decrease stark regional inequities.

On February 10, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) Board of Directors issued a resolution supporting collaborative economic development initiatives in Metropolitan Washington after hearing presentations about regional efforts in Northern Virginia and suburban Maryland. REDS aims to capitalize upon this momentum to focus joint efforts around developing local talent, driving equitable innovation and growth, and promoting our region nationally and globally as a thriving community and great place to do business.

David Iannucci, President and CEO of the Prince George’s County Economic Development Corporation, added, "The Connected DMV regional economic strategy could be the powerful tool that has long been needed to help better balance economic growth in the metropolitan area. Recognizing that diversity is a strength, as all area jurisdictions work their way out of the economic fallout from the pandemic, we are closer to reaching consensus on the need for equity in economic growth throughout the region."

All REDS recommendations will emphasize alignment with relevant regional efforts such as those of the NOVA Economic Development Alliance, Maryland National Capital Region Economic Development Alliance, Council of Economic Development Officials (convened by the Greater Washington Board of Trade), and the Planning Directors Technical Advisory Committee and Region Forward Coalition of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.