COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE
Thomas Jefferson Partnership for Economic Development Performance Review
Thomas Jefferson Partnership for Economic Development Membership decision
Tucker, Foley, Davis, Stimart
LEGAL REVIEW: Yes
July 11, 2007
ACTION: X INFORMATION:
In February 2006, the Board approved a motion for Albemarle County to join the Thomas Jefferson Partnership for Economic Development (TJPED) for the remainder of FY 05/06 and all of FY 06/07. That motion also called for the Board to reaffirm its decision to be a member in the TJPED before continuing membership in FY 07/08. The purpose of this executive summary is to provide information to the Board to assist it in its discussion regarding whether to continue its membership in the TJPED.
Goal 1: Enhance the Quality of Life for All Citizens
Goal 4: Effectively Manage the County’s Growth and Development
Goal 5: Fund the County’s Future Needs
During the course of this first year of Albemarle County membership, the TJPED gained one additional public agency member, Greene County, so that participating localities now include the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle, Culpeper, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, Nelson and Orange Counties. Also, founding Executive Director, Bob de Mauri, retired from his position. A nationwide search ended with the TJPED Board selecting Mike Harvey to take over the organization in February 2007. Mr. Harvey has recently completed his orientation, assessed budget and operations, and developed a new work plan with considerable input from County representatives. Mr. Harvey has re-aligned his advisory committee to include leadership from the Central Virginia Small Business Development Center, Virginia-Piedmont Technology Council/Charlottesville Venture Group, University of Virginia Economic Development Director, and the partner-County economic development professionals. Recognizing the limitations of TJPED’s budget, Mr. Harvey has scaled back new business marketing activities and developed a work plan which places a strong emphasis on several key initiatives: 1) implementing a business retention program centered around the State’s “ExecutivePulse” computer program, 2) developing a regional workforce study, and 3) performing an industry cluster analysis of the region to identify desirable business segments. Mr. Harvey has also taken a co-leadership role with The Piedmont Workforce Network to address and help mitigate the regional impacts expected from the expansion of NGIC. The Chairman of TJPED has also established an Advisory Council made up of a diverse group of interests including the farming and wine industries, land conservation interests, tourism and other business entities. Ches Goodall, Manager of our ACE Program, represents Albemarle County government on this council.
To assist in working with TJPED, staff developed a memorandum of understanding, MOU, to create measurements for evaluating performance against the broader goals stated above. (Attachment A) The MOU identifies five areas for TJPED to address: 1) Helping existing businesses improve workforce training and placement of workers affected by downsizing; 2) In accordance with our development area and rural area policies and strategies, reaching out to new businesses to diversify the tax base and to encourage local employment, 3) Support County staff and elected officials in communicating with the community about the regional economy as well as business assistance programs and initiatives; 4) Upon request, assist County staff with research, including white papers, on key topics such a economic competitiveness, product development, and under-employment; and 5) Track activity performed on behalf of Albemarle County.
Culling through notes from his predecessor, TJPED Executive Director Mike Harvey provided a summary report documenting TJPED’s 2006 calendar-year activity on behalf of Albemarle County. (Attachment B). According to this report, TJPED staff contacted over 60 local companies and helped three with major expansions, including one that qualified for $1,000,000 for business expansion/retraining from the VA Department of Business Assistance. TJPED staff member, Sue Friedman, provided considerable assistance to the Badger Company’s 94 employees in connecting with employee resources for re-training and employment networking, following the company’s closing. During this time Ms. Friedman also served on the Albemarle County Strategic Planning for Economic Vitality Citizen Task Force, helping to identify solutions for workforce training and metrics for measuring economic vitality over the time period of the County Strategic Plan.
Even with the change of TJPED’s Executive Director, this last year’s membership has been beneficial to the County in several ways. TJPED provided significant support in helping Badger employees - following layoffs - find other jobs and workforce re-training programs in concert with the Virginia Employment Commission staff. TJPED provided leadership in a citizen’s committee on Economic Vitality for the County’s Strategic Plan, as well as with regional discussions on addressing impacts from the expansion of NGIC. TJPED also provided support in working with the State’s Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) and UVA in helping identify and recruit candidate tenants for the University’s research parks.
TJPED’s annual membership fee is $12,500.
Staff recommends that the Board continue the County’s membership in the TJPED.
Attachment A – Memorandum of Understanding
Attachment B – 2006 Calendar-year Activity Report
Attachment C – 2007/08 Work Program
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