Summer Conference

Save the Date for WEDA's 2021 Summer Conference

You are invited to join (in person!) fellow economic development, local government, port, business, tribal, education and community leaders from throughout Washington August 3-5, 2021 to learn and engage with expert speakers and professionals on the current state of Washington’s economic recovery and gain new tools and insights for economic development in your community. 

The conference will also feature limited virtual programming for those who can’t
attend in person. We encourage you to get your 
COVID-19 vaccine, if you haven’t

2021 IEDC Economic Future Forum Spokane, WA | June 6-8, 2021

WEDA is a sponsor of the 2021 IEDC Economic Future Forum which will be held virtually on June 6-8, 2021. Click here to register for IEDC’s Economic Future Forum today!  

2020 Summer Conference: Onward & Upward

Onward & Upward Forum’s Opening Session

Kick-Off “Onward & Upward” with opening remarks from WEDA leadership and a welcome by City of Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle. Then an update from Commerce Director Lisa Brown who is joined for a conversation about “Equity Through the Recovery” with Bryant Campbell who leads Business Oregon’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion work.

General Session Panel:

Leveraging Resources, Rebuilding Communities

We promised Resources for Economic Recovery, and we deliver with this session! Hear updates and learn how to access resources through federal agencies, the Small Business Administration, the Federal Reserve Bank and the Economic Development Administration, and the head of our international association, IEDC.

Keynote Session:

Accessing Capital to Spark Recovery

This session begins with special remarks by Governor Inslee and features a keynote presentation from the President & CEO of the American Bankers Association (ABA), Washington State native, Rob Nichols. The ABA represents banks of all sizes and is the voice for the nation’s $18 trillion banking industry.

Breakout Session: 

Public Health as an Economic Imperative: Maximizing Strong Health Partnerships for a Successful Economic Recovery

Maintaining public health has become more of an economic imperative than most of us ever imagined. How can economic developers and those working to recover jobs in communities partner with the health industry through this COVID-19 crisis and beyond? Learn with this diverse group of leaders.

Breakout Session: 

Worker Safety as an Economic Imperative: Safe Work = Job Recovery

We are on a long road to economic recovery, but we will not get there without prioritizing worker safety. This top-notch panel explores what “Safe Work = Job Recovery” means.

Breakout Session: 

Workforce Development as an Economic Imperative: Rebuilding and Reinventing Our Workforce from Cradle to Career

How important will workforce development and education be through economic recovery? How can we preserve our crucial human capital despite potential funding reductions? These leaders of “Cradle to College & Career” organizations share their thoughts.

Keynote Session: 

Building the Back to Work Toolkit

How are workplaces changing as they reopen during COVID-19? How can employers create safe environments while preserving company culture? Katie Drucker, the head of business development and partnerships at Madrona Venture Group, led the development of a “Back to Work Toolkit” that is helping employers across the state and nation with reopening resources. She shares the Toolkit and how it was developed, and provides an entrepreneur’s perspective on how we move toward recovery.

General Session Panel: 

Rising All Boats as We Recover: Equity as Essential in Recovery

Equity is essential through the economic recovery. How can we reconsider, reposition and rework economic development to be more inclusive? What strategies can you employ in your communities to address and reverse disparities and ensure economic opportunities for all? This diverse panel has answers and addresses these crucial questions.

Breakout Session: 

Regional Policy Solutions: Leveraging Partnerships and Data for Regional Challenges

It’s so much easier to run a grant program for your city or county only, but what if we collaborated and effectively shared resources across regions? How are regions collaborating to fight COVID and plan for recovery? What data sources can be leveraged to move forward together, and strategically? These leaders have lessons learned to share.

Breakout Session: 

Infrastructure as a Critical Catalyst for Economic Recovery

Our infrastructure deficiencies are staggering, from transportation to public works to broadband. What funding tools are available, how can economic developers be helpful, and how can we help ensure that funded projects will help recover or catalyze job growth? This panel of leaders provides strategic guidance and perspective.

Breakout Session: 

Innovative Financing Tools for Entrepreneurship & Economic Recovery

From Revolving Loan Funds to employer tax credits to the PPP, there are tools to help entrepreneurs, the startup ecosystem and microenterprises survive COVID. What options exist, or should be created, to help innovators stabilize, survive and recover?

Keynote Address & Closing Session: 

Onward & Upward – An Action Plan for Economic Developers

Richard Florida, one of the world’s top thought leaders on economic competitiveness, demographic trends, and cultural and technological innovation, provides an action plan for economic developers and community leaders to help your community mobilize.

Discounts for WMBEs, Economic Developers in Need & Retirees

As part of WEDA’s ongoing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion outreach, Women & Minority-owned Business Enterprises (WMBEs) and equity-focused/ethnic organizations are offered significant discounts or scholarships on registration fees. Additionally, Policymakers, Economic Developers in Transition and Retirees are often offered discounts or access to events and content for free.

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