Executive Director of Montrose Economic Development Corporation Sandy Head.

Executive Director of Montrose Economic Development Corporation Sandy Head. 

A new program from the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade program has the potential to help with job growth in Montrose, said Sandy Head, executive director of Montrose Economic Development Corporation.

OEDIT’s Colorado’s Mutual Prosperity (COMP) Program was created as a new economic development initiative which targets economic growth throughout Colorado.

The idea is this program will create a collaboration between the state’s urban and rural communities. In turn, people can work remotely in rural areas of Colorado.

Montrose seems like a prime, collaborative candidate for this program, said Head. Due to Elevate Fiber’s broadband, Montrose has some of the best bandwidth in the Western Slope, she added.

“Without it (broadband), we wouldn’t survive,” Head said. “... Montrose is going to be poised quite well to be part of this new program

OEDIT works with various organization in Colorado to create economic development and sustainable job growth. Its goal is to help the state’s economy with financial and technical assistance that produces local and regional economic development activities throughout Colorado.

COMP will launch on July 1, 2020, and will be re-evaluated after a one-year period.

The program uses previous economic development tools to incentivize employers to hire both employees in urban areas as well as those in remote places in rural communities.

“Colorado’s economy is the best in the nation and our economic prosperity shouldn’t be constrained by geography or resources,” said OEDIT Executive Director Betsy Markey in a press release. “COMP is designed to encourage economic growth throughout the state by connecting location-neutral jobs with all of Colorado.”

Companies that let employees work in a rural location at least three days a week are eligible to receive a strategic fund cash incentive. This also allows them to apply for the Job Growth Incentive Tax Credits. The Strategic Fund Incentive would be layered with the JGITC.

Head said if Montrose had a “lone entrepreneur,” it would mean he or she would contribute “new wealth” in the community. Additionally, he or she wouldn’t intrude on infrastructure already in Montrose.

An urban and rural partnership can also snowball into other collaborations, said Head. By getting involved with a larger metro-area company could lead the business wanting to have another location in Montrose, she added.

“What we’ve found out over the years here is once people are in our community, more people come this way,” said Head. “... It’s a good way to bring additional talent to Montrose.”

OEDIT officials will host a webinar for economic development organizations and interested people on July 12. For more information, visit oedit.info@state.co.us.

“The state is really put forth the effort to help the rural side of the state. They’re really focusing on that. And that’s because we have a lot to offer,” Head said.

“... When you come to a rural area like Montrose, you usually find somebody with a strong work ethic. And that’ll be good for these urban companies because you’re going to know that you are getting a quality employee.”

Andrew Kiser is the Montrose Daily Press’ sports/business writer. Follow him on Twitter @andrew_kpress.

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