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Washtenaw County Builds Community Wealth and Capital through Collaboration

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Washtenaw County, Michigan was hit hard by the 2008 recession; our eastern side alone lost over 14,000 higher-paying manufacturing jobs. At the Washtenaw County Office of Community & Economic Development (OCED), we are working to overcome the challenges induced by the Great Recession by supporting businesses here – particularly through cooperatives, local investing, and the development of the local food system.

Over the past few years, a number of guiding initiatives led Washtenaw County’s OCED to make research and funding for local economy projects a priority. OCED accelerated these initiatives by convening local-economy experts and by building on the Board of County Commissioners’ stated priority to stimulate the economy. As OCED director Mary Jo Callan stated, "We envision a thriving local economy where local businesses and entrepreneurs receive the support and capital they need to succeed, where our workforce secures meaningful local employment, and where a flourishing local investing ecosystem builds social and monetary capital."

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