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Connecticut Towns and Cities Benefit from Transformational Economic Development Workshops

To assist Connecticut’s local public officials and volunteers with strengthening their local economy, the Connecticut Economic Resource Center, Inc. (CERC) has presented a unique municipal economic development workshop to nearly a dozen municipalities across the state this year. The free, 2-hour session, entitled “Fundamentals of Municipal Economic Development,” is geared to all within a municipality who impact economic development and designed to get everyone working collaboratively. An upcoming workshop is scheduled in Thomaston on December 12.

“Economic development is a critical component of any community’s strategic plan, and towns and cities across the state are increasing looking for, and benefiting from, interactive workshops designed to provide the technical tools to boost their local efforts,” said Bob Santy, CERC’s President and CEO.

The session examines the role of the community’s economic development team – from the Mayor/First Selectmen and Town/City Managers, to Finance Directors, Public Safety Officials and Planning & Zoning Coordinators, as well as local volunteers serving on various boards and commissions – and how local strategies and activities are impacted by the state, region and global economy. The curriculum was designed collaboratively by CERC, the Connecticut Economic Development Association, the Connecticut Main Street Center and the MetroHartford Alliance.

 “It is a transformational approach to economic development, providing solid data and operational models that can help community leaders - elected officials and volunteers - set priorities and seize opportunities,” explains Courtney Hendricson, CERC’s Vice President of Municipal Services. “There is so much that local communities can do to retain businesses, help them to expand, and attract new companies, which helps their local tax base grow and the overall state economy flourish.”

 Workshop for Connecticut Conference of Municipalities on December 15

Also upcoming, CERC is partnering with the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM) for an intensive economic development session – “Economic Development: Check Yourself - How is Your Town Doing on Economic Development?” – for CCM members on Thursday, December 15 in Shelton.

 In the session, led by Santy and Hendricson, CERC highlights a six-point self-assessment tool for towns and discusses the type of activities municipalities can do to achieve successful economic development. Areas of focus include Economic Development Function & Activities, Community Contact for Businesses and Applicants, Existing Business Community Visitation, Business Friendly Land Use Planning, Commercial Land & Site Inventory and Economic Development Communication. Participants will learn what needs to be done, who should be doing it, and how to do it – with staff or volunteers. Attendees will receive information about research, marketing and general economic development practices, as well as resources and tools available to achieve economic development results.

 “The objective is to help communities be business-ready,” Hendricson said. “The state has many advantages as a premier business location. Working in concert with municipalities that have economic development savvy and understand what it takes to sustain an attractive business environment while maintaining the character of their community can make all the difference.”