GEDC Gets Jump Start on Pandemic Recovery Efforts

17 Jul 2020

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Through a new partnership with the University of Texas IC2 institute, the Giddings Economic Development Corporation is getting a jump start on spearheading  the city’s economic recovery from the ravages caused by forced closures and restricted business operations due to the coronavirus pandemic.  

This spring, the University distributed a call for applications to economic developers throughout Texas and Louisiana to participate in the University’s pandemic economic recovery program.  The GEDC submitted an application and, along with economic development representatives from 60 other communities across the two states, was accepted into the IC2 Institute program.  

“I can’t express enough gratitude to the University of Texas for hosting this program at no cost to Giddings or the GEDC. Our organization has been aggressive at addressing the issues and doing what we can to mitigate the virus’ negative effect on the business community, but the longer this drags on, the harder it is to make a lasting impact. We are moving from being pro-active to being re-active and there is just no way one can prepare for a crisis of this magnitude.  Our participation in the IC2 economic recovery program means that we are getting the best feedback and mentoring that is available.  It’s an equalizer that puts us on the same playing field with larger cities so that we have access to the same type of information and resources,” stated Tonya Britton, GEDC Executive Director. 

In addition to a written application, the acceptance process also required participation in an entrance interview with a University representative to learn more about the organization and the program’s parameters.  Since being accepted into the program, the GEDC has been tasked with connecting IC2 researchers with local stakeholders, generating awareness of a comprehensive recovery survey to be completed by local residents, and participating in virtual brainstorming sessions with the pandemic recovery team. . The GEDC will receive a final, customized report and will participate in a comprehensive, multi-day XLR8 Training Program.  The training will be centered around providing participants with a framework for data-driven economic development program design, rapid testing and linking of measurement to grow programs with broad community support, peer-based mentoring, and access to economic development experts. 

“The economic recovery strategies that are identified in this process will dovetail with the work that is being performed by the Goodman Corporation on the city’s downtown strategic plan.  We will take what we learn from both Goodman and from the Institute and work with the University of Texas’ staff and faculty to identify and develop tactics to best implement recovery strategies in a pandemic–oriented business environment.  

About IC2 Institute

The IC2 Institute was established at The University of Texas at Austin in 1977, as a think-and-do tank to explore the broad economic, technological, and human factors that drive economic development in regions. 

As a do tank, IC2 creates programs that aim to have a positive impact on the world. In the U.S. and worldwide, the institute will continue to implement initiatives that lead to impactful and sustainable growth for communities and regions.

On the think side, IC2 is focused on innovation and entrepreneurship in small or remote cities outside major urban corridors. The University IC2 Institute drives research and programs to help overlooked communities develop evidence-based strategies to achieve their goals and develops collaborative partnerships with communities to create sustainable models of economic development. The knowledge, tools, and relationships supported by IC2 create more prosperous, adaptable, diverse, and resilient rural communities.

The Institute’s approach is multi-pronged and tailored to each community’s needs as staff understand that no single solution will work for every community. Instead, staff and faculty engage with the people in the communities to understand their identity, needs, and aspirations, and use that knowledge to help economic developers create and implement strategic plans to create a more sustainable future.