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Washington, DC – Norfolk Economic Development Department won a Gold Rank for its Norfolk Works, a project in the category of Multi-Year Economic Development Program of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).  The honor was presented yesterday at an awards ceremony during the IEDC Annual Conference, which is currently underway.

“Norfolk Works is excited to receive this international economic development award.” Michael Paris, Senior Business Development Manager and head of Norfolk Works, said. “Since December 2016, Norfolk Works has focused on improving the quality of life of residents by ensuring project announcements of jobs created have a real impact on peoples’ lives, especially residents living in historically underrepresented communities, and coordinating the variety of local talent sources to ensure businesses have the diverse talent required to thrive, grow, and invest in Norfolk.”

IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development Awards recognize the world’s best economic development programs and partnerships, marketing materials, and the year’s most influential leaders. 25 award categories honor organizations and individuals for their efforts in creating positive change in urban, suburban, and rural communities. Awards are judged by a diverse panel of economic and community developers, following a nomination process held earlier this year. IEDC received over 500 submissions from 4 countries.

Norfolk Works completed more than 30 employment projects, 6 training initiatives, brought together 15 workforce agencies, and has now connected 12,967 job seekers to the business community in need of talent from diverse sources, including underrepresented groups such as Black and brown communities living in public housing and historic neighborhoods, people with disabilities, returning citizens from the justice system, and residents experiencing homelessness.

It greatly improves the residents’ quality of life and positively impacts the businesses it serves with its connections to talent sources. The average household income for the average participant is $10,449, which generally tripled after being connected to Norfolk Works partner employers. For instance, “DriveNOW” takes a Norfolk Works participant who is typically unemployed, or making near minimum wage, to a CDL Class B with more than a $30,000 year job with benefits, in less than 6 weeks. Another example is a mobile welding lab “WeldNOW,” coming online this winter, that will partner with Norfolk’s shipbuilding and repair community to train residents who lost their employment due to COVID-19.

Norfolk Works has three program components:

  • Norfolk Works Job Resource & Community Career Center – The Center offers a street-level office and a direct connection for the public to the Norfolk Department of Economic Development and access to its relationships with new and expanding businesses seeking to fill newly created jobs.
  • Norfolk Works Business Services – support for existing, prospective, and new Norfolk businesses via connections to qualified Norfolk residents through strategic recruitment efforts and technical assistance regarding the utilization of hiring incentives.
  • Norfolk Works Workforce Investment Network (WIN) – interagency network local, state, and federally-funded agencies to collaborate on workforce projects that mutually support job seekers and businesses.

“The winners of IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development awards represent the best of economic development and exemplify the leadership that our profession strives for every day,” said 2021 IEDC Board Chair and Invest Buffalo Niagara, President, and CEO Tom Kucharski. “We’re honored to recognize the more than 100 communities whose marketing submissions, projects, and partnerships have improved regional quality of life.”

We’re incredibly honored to recognize the outstanding organizations that received this year’s Excellence Awards. This year, more than ever, has presented opportunities to innovate, impact, and progress the cities, neighborhoods, and communities around us. Each of this year’s recipients represents the best of the economic development profession and exemplifies the ingenuity for fellow economic developers to aspire to in the years to come.

 About the International Economic Development Council

The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is a non-profit, non-partisan membership organization serving economic developers. With more than 5,000 members, IEDC is the largest organization of its kind. Economic developers promote economic well-being and quality of life for their communities by creating, retaining, and expanding jobs that facilitate growth, enhance wealth and provide a stable tax base. From public to private, rural to urban, and local to international, IEDC’s members engage in the full range of economic development experiences. Given the breadth of economic development work, our members are employed in various settings, including local, state, provincial, and federal governments, public-private partnerships, chambers of commerce, universities, and a variety of other institutions. When we succeed, our members create high-quality jobs, develop vibrant communities, and improve the quality of life in their regions. Learn more at iedconline.org.

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