At the spring conference of the Virginia Economic Developers Association (VEDA), the winner of the association’s 2014 Community Economic Development Awards (CEDA) in the over-100,000 population category was the Middle Peninsula-Northern Neck region. The award recognized the area’s Watermen Tourism Training Program — a project that combined community development, business retention and expansion, and community involvement.
This program was developed by Rappahannock Community College’s Workforce and Community Development office in collaboration with Chesapeake Environmental Communication; it offers guidance for watermen who wish to supplement their incomes by developing tourism-based businesses.
In addition to providing a much-needed alternate source of income for Virginia’s working watermen, the program spurs cross-industry economic development throughout coastal Virginia, connects the public directly with working watermen in the capacity of educators and Chesapeake Bay stewards, and emphasizes the benefits of buying local seafood. It was nominated for the award by Chris Ingram, the economic development and tourism coordinator of Middlesex County.
“It was certainly an honor to receive this year’s recognition from VEDA, highlighting our success with the Chesapeake Waterman Heritage training program,” says Jason Perry, RCC’s vice president of workforce development.
“I think we have once again proven that RCC’s Workforce Development Office can train all job sectors to improve economic development within the region. Having strong partners such as Chesapeake Environmental Communications, Inc., and the Middlesex County Economic Development Authority certainly is important. We appreciate their support, and look forward to future workforce training endeavors.”
The CEDA awards, now in their eighth year, are designed to recognize outstanding communities in the Commonwealth for their efforts in advancing their economic viability. Winners are submitted by VEDA to the Southern Economic Development Council to be considered by that organization for a regional award. A member-based professional association committed to providing training, development, and networking opportunities, VEDA serves as the voice of the economic development community, and strives to create economic opportunity and prosperity for the Commonwealth of Virginia.