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 all we do. It started at a regional summit when more than 300 people came together to address challenges faced in our 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. 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-Together We Succeed 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 targets in four areas:
This is a grassroots effort, and citizen involvement is key. Currently more than 1,500 residents of the region 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 healthy 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 our 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.
- 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 throughout 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 brought to the forefront and works to be addressed.
In 2020, Project 17 formed a formal partnership with K-State Research & Extension’s Community Vitality Programs to provide and develop programming and make Project 17’s initiatives more accessible to the region.