The op-ed by Frank Principi is reprinted from the July 5, 2013 issue of the Washington Business Journal.
Greater Washington’s economy is like a college graduate who seems to have it all: intelligence, personality and job opportunities that spell success.
But solid, long-lasting success for our economy will require the same skill and savvy a young graduate needs: strategic planning and making the right moves at the right time.
At the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG), we believe that kind of skill and savvy is found in our Economy Forward initiative — a call to action for a more competitive metropolitan Washington. It means that the region will do more than simply bask in the glow of an economy that includes strong sectors such as biotechnology, cybersecurity and information technology and management consulting. It also means we will build on statistics which show the area’s residents hold a greater share of college and graduate degrees than anyplace in the nation.
Economy Forward means taking coordinated steps to improve our transportation infrastructure and develop activity centers in every part of the region with the right mix of housing, jobs and transit. This bold initiative will require bringing regional leaders together to implement an approach to workforce development to prepare people for jobs in the 21st century economy.
The other important priorities in Economy Forward include workforce development, improved coordination with the federal government and developing a new regional brand to let the world know we are much more than an old-fashioned government town.
Economy Forward is a call to action. All of us at COG strongly urge our regional partners to come together in the months ahead to support specific and realistic actions. The groundbreaking planning is already in hand.
It’s now time to act. It’s time to take those key next steps that will ensure the region’s success. You can do your part by learning what needs to be done and supporting the elected leaders who are working together on this initiative. You will find a copy of the Economy Forward report on the COG web site, www.mwcog.org.
Principi is a member of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors.