Richmond- The Virginia Economic Developers Association (VEDA) announced the selection of Prince George County; the City of Danville; and Suffolk, Franklin/Southampton County and Isle of Wight County as winners in three different population categories of the 2018 Community Economic Development Awards (CEDA), presented last week at the association's Spring Conference in Richmond.
Prince George County was nominated and selected in Category Three (population of 15,001 to 40,000) for its efforts to provide residential/commercial broadband service to rural areas while addressing the fundamentals of community development. The County partnered with Prince George Electric Cooperative (PGEC) to provide a long-term solution for bringing high speed Internet to the community. PGEC established a Fiber-To-The-Home (FTTH) pilot project to test the business model for providing broadband service. While the pilot program has defined boundaries, the County and PGEC have requested a grant to extend the service throughout the County in phases. The CEDA Committee applauds this community for embracing a fundamental tenet of economic development and rebuilding those efforts from the ground up.
The City of Danville was the recipient of the award in population Category Four (40,001-100,000).Danville created a program aimed at supplying highly trained and qualified precision machinists to companies that require this specific expertise. This three-stage (secondary school, community college, and specific advanced learning programs) training program has a capacity to enroll and train 180 students that employers can anticipate hiring as needed. Since inception of this program three years ago, Danville has recruited four companies, employing more than 100 certified machinists. Danville brings an opportunity for new business attraction while simultaneously developing young citizens to be successful, and for that reason the CEDA Committee selected this project to be recognized.
The CEDA award in Population Category Five (>100,000) was presented to the Suffolk, Franklin/Southampton Co., and Isle of Wight Co. program. To meet the growing needs of the supply chain industry, these communities collaborated with Paul D. Camp Community College (PDCCC) to support the establishment of a 5,000 square foot PDCCC Regional Warehouse and Distribution Training Facility. PDCCC was able to lease an unused warehouse and create several training and certification programs to meet the manufacturing, warehouse, and distribution needs in the region. Additionally, area economic developers use the training facility as a site-visit location for consultants and companies who come to the area looking to start a new business, relocate, or expand operations.The Suffolk, Franklin/Southampton Co., and Isle of Wight Co. Training Facility was chosen by the CEDA committee for its collaborative spirit and its comprehensive approach to economic revitalization.
The 2018 CEDA entrants represented all geographic regions of the Commonwealth, and the nine applicant communities ranged in population, from urban to rural regions.
"The field of entrants was very competitive this year," said CEDA Chairman Traci Blido (Bedford County Economic Development). "We recognized those areas that are addressing workforce and community needs in creative ways, and because there were so many exceptional projects, the CEDA Committee decided to present an honorable mention award as well." Submitting in Population Category Five, Henrico County received an honorable mention for itsprogram to reinvent business retention and expansion. The Business First, Legacy, and State of the County programs demonstrate Henrico County's reinvigorated commitment to serving and building relationships with its existing businesses.
Now in its 12th year, the CEDA awards are designed to recognize outstanding communities in the Commonwealth for their efforts in advancing the economic viability of their community through economic and community development programs. VEDA is following the format developed by the Southern Economic Development Council (SEDC) and will submit its eligible winners to SEDC to be considered by that organization for a southern states regional award.
"The work of the committee is admittedly difficult each year because of the high caliber of the entries and this year was no exception, having received nine quality nominations. Virginia has a history of winners who go on to win at the SEDC level - truly a testament to the high performance economic development efforts going on across our state," said Blido. Entries are judged on factors including innovativeness, transferability, community commitment, and the benefits derived from the initiative. To see copies of each of the selected Community Economic Development Awards submissions link, go to www.GoVEDA.org.
VEDA is a member-based professional association committed to providing training and development; networking opportunities; and serving as the voice of the economic development community, creating economic opportunity and prosperity for the Commonwealth of Virginia. VEDA's membership is comprised of more than 530 economic development professionals and related industry professionals from across the Commonwealth of Virginia. For more information about VEDA visit the website at www.GoVEDA.org
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