Two Programs Earn International Recognition

Oct 21, 2022News, Newsletter

Alissa Fisher
RISE (Regional Incubator for Sustainability and Entrepreneurship)


IEDC in OKC 2022 Annual Conference in Oklahoma City at the Oklahoma City Convention Center on Tuesday, September 20, 2022. Photo by Alonzo J. Adams – Alonzo Adams Photography.

SANDUSKY — Two Erie County-based programs were internationally recognized on Sept. 20 by the International Economic Development Council for the 2022 Excellence in Economic Development Awards.

  • Firelands Forward, a regional workforce development collaborative, received the Gold Award for talent development and retention.
  • The Minority Business Empowerment Team took home the Silver Award for economic equity and inclusion.

Each award was presented at the 2022 International Economic Development Council’s annual conference in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

The council’s excellence and leadership in economic development awards recognize the world’s best economic development programs, partnerships, marketing materials and influential leaders.

These 25 awards honor organizations and individuals for their efforts in creating positive change in urban, suburban and rural communities.

Firelands Forward received the top award in the talent development and retention category.

Through the implementation of various programming solutions, Firelands Forward continues to work with community partners to solve major employment barriers, increase retention and attract new talent to the region.

“We are extremely humbled by this recognition, grateful to be a part of this community and region and excited to continue to work with our partners to enable a healthy and self-actualized workforce,” Firelands Forward director David White said.

This latest award adds to the many successes achieved by the Minority Business Empowerment Team this year. This would include forming and building a network of entrepreneurs, recognizing local minority leaders and supporting new and existing businesses.

Among some of its programs is the team’s startup scholarship that awards new minority-owned businesses grants that cover the cost of incorporating with the state and additional startup funding. Eight new businesses were awarded the scholarship this year.

The award for economic equity and inclusion recognizes programs dedicated to improving the quality of life within a community through focused, innovative and inclusive initiatives that incorporate the unique experiences and knowledge of underserved members of the community.

These programs promote economic equity and inclusion and/or provide increased access to government and community resources to an underserved populace.

“This year’s awards selection process was especially competitive. We are honored to recognize the more than 100 communities whose marketing submissions, projects, and partnerships have improved regional quality of life,” said council awards advisory committee chair Christina Winn.

Awards are judged by a diverse panel of economic and community developers from around the world.

The council received more than 500 submissions from the U.S. and four additional countries.

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