To improve the economic vitality and quality of life of those who live, work, and play in the 17 counties that compose the Project 17 region (Allen, Anderson, Bourbon, Chautauqua, Cherokee, Coffey, Crawford, Elk, Franklin, Greenwood, Labette, Linn, Miami, Montgomery, Neosho, Wilson and Woodson Counties.)
Preparing the Region for the Future
Together we Succeed is more than just Project 17’s tagline, it’s critical to our region’s future! When people come together around a common goal, improving the region economically, great things happen. This principle is at the heart of Project 17. It all started at a regional summit when more than 300 people came together to address challenges faced in the 17 county region. There is a lot to be proud of but it became clear an increased focus was needed on areas that could use improvement.
Citizens recognized the need to come together on a regional level to perform better economically. A rising tide raises all ships and economic success and job growth in one county certainly creates positive impacts for the entire region. The group also discussed the need to improve the health outcomes of the region and that this needed to become a priority. They also knew all of this could only be achieved through increased civic involvement, leadership, and that building new networks of relationships would be key to moving the region forward. From this spirited discussion Project 17 was formed. Project 17 is first and foremost an economic development initiative. However, it is clear that economic development does not occur within a vacuum in communities. Therefore Project 17 is focused on the following areas which if improved together will help improve the overall economic vitality of the region. Project 17’s work can be thought of in four broad categories which are:
Citizen involvement is key, currently over 1,500 citizens are engaged and working to improve the economic vitality of the region. Project 17 invites anyone to get connected at any time to work within the existing groups, or bring to light any new initiatives they feel would improve the region.
Networking and Connecting Throughout the Region
This region has numerous resources including strong manufacturing and agricultural sectors, a strong business community, quality educational institutions working to supply businesses with a strong pipeline of talent to meet their workforce needs, and many community amenities that make the region great. Project 17 work’s to raise regional awareness and promote networking between businesses and communities to ensure that businesses have access to a network of suppliers and business partners in the region and also throughout the state. Additionally, so communities can understand challenges faced by local businesses and through working together businesses can be more prosperous.
- Economic development initiative with all activities aligned to improve regional economic prosperity.
- Network-based approach as its structure and insures the voices of everyday citizens from within the region are heard.
- Defined organizational structure to ensure the network’s work is coordinated.
A volunteer advisory board serves to guide Project 17. This board is comprised of a people from a variety of sectors in the region who represent the interests of that sector and two at-large members from the region. These board members take their responsibility seriously and work to ensure that the most pressing needs of the region are addressed. The Project 17 Executive Director serves as an ex-officio member of this board.