May 3, 2022

Beyond pondering: EDB finalizes work program changes

What started as a conversation has come to fruition. The EDB recently recast its five-year work program as part of a continued effort to expand its reach to the local business community.

How we got here

The University of Washington Tacoma Global Innovation and Design Lab helped the EDB get to this place, applying human-centered design to improve the 2021-25 work program. Following a mini-EDB board retreat in January to brainstorm ideas and create prototypes, the GID Lab team issued a formal report on the work that identified three themes as EDB priorities: Build an inclusive business community, connect the EDB to job seekers, and connect the organization to businesses.

The report offered 23 recommendations that align with those priorities, including boosting work already underway, and new measures specific to the EDB and to the larger economic development ecosystem. In March, the Executive Committee directed the EDB to move forward.

True to our mission and more

“Our mission remains the core of what we do,” said EDB President Bruce Kendall. “The EDB will continue to stay laser-focused on primary business recruitment and retention, and continue to emphasize our work on diversity, equity and inclusion and service to Pierce County’s BIPOC businesses.”

The EDB will also take additional steps to extend its reach. In the near- and mid-term, the organization will:

  • List smaller employers on the EDB website to help connect the organization to more businesses.
  • Make outreach a part of everyone’s job at the EDB.
  • Create a new EDB staff position focused on board member and investor development, including connections to higher-ed talent, investor briefings and bridge-building to partner organizations.
  • Join the Pierce County Community Engagement Task Force to help build a more inclusive business community.
  • Craft a mentorship that connects EDB board members to BIPOC businesses and/or students looking for connections to the business community.

Longer term, the EDB will work to create structures where primary businesses and the broader community can come together.

Recommendations for the EDB’s ecosystem partners include a range of steps to enrich the region’s talent pipeline, break down barriers, and create more educational and career opportunities for all.

You can read more about the EDB work program modifications here.


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