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Major Projects

Business Retention & Expansion 

  • Focus:  Existing Industry Retention & Expansion
  • Description:  Statewide annual program called BEST of Iowa where local economic developers meet one-on-one with prime employers.  Data from these visits are used to produce an Annual Business Report & direct economic development strategy.

Economic Development District

  • Focus:  Infrastructure Development
  • Description:  Marion County is working with regional partners to establish an Economic Development District (EDD).  An EDD is a multi-jurisdictional organization, commonly composed of multiple counties. They help lead the locally based, regionally driven economic development planning process that leverages the involvement of the public, private and non-profit sectors to establish a strategic blueprint for regional collaboration and access to public funding sources.

Economic Gardening Pilot

  • Focus:  Stage 2 Growth Company Expansion
  • Description:  Economic Gardening® is the oldest and best tested entrepreneurial economic development program in the country. This pilot program is directed by the National Center for Economic Gardening in cooperation with the Opportunity2 Economic Region.  This pilot focuses on Marion and Mahaska counties in Iowa.  The program focuses on helping local Stage 2 entrepreneurs grow their companies (economic gardening) by providing research on competitors, markets, and product.  


  • Focus: Workforce Recruitment
  • Description: The Iowa Workforce Innovation Network (iWIN) team from Iowa State University’s Center for Industrial Research Services (CIRAS) will be working with Marion County to develop innovative, multi-faceted solutions for workforce issues. This program will begin June, 2021.

Leadership Red Rock

  • Focus:  Workforce Retention & Upskilling
  • Description:  Leadership Red Rock is a multi-session program focused on elevating knowledge on key trends as well as building leadership skills.  Applications are accepted from August 1 to September 11.  Sessions are held once per month at various locations from October to April.


  • Focus:  Resident Attraction & Retention
  • Description:  Marion County Development is in initial stages to determine priorities for placemaking throughout the county and at Lake Red Rock.

Regional Broadband Study

  • Focus:  Business & Workforce Attraction & Retention
  • Description:  Marion County is part of an eleven-county group in Central Iowa within the Greater Des Moines Partnership to complete a regional broadband study.  This project includes surveys to gather actual internet speeds which will assist in the attraction of providers as well as access to funding.

Targeted Industry Attraction Study

  • Focus:  Business Attraction
  • Description:  Marion County Development has contracted with AdyAdvantage to complete a Targeted Business Attraction Strategy & Marketing Plan.  This project will work to build on Marion County’s manufacturing sector as well as diversify Marion County’s employment base.

Teaching for the Workforce 

  • Focus:  Workforce Upskilling
  • Description:  Teaching for the Workforce is a professional development course for educators focusing on STEM occupation opportunities within Marion County.  This program is coordinated by the Opportunity2 Economic Development Region.  Locally, this program is planned by DMACC Business Resources and Marion County Development.

Top 10 Under 40

  • Focus:  Workforce Attraction & Retention
  • Description:  Each year, Marion County Development recognizes ten outstanding young professional who live and work in Marion County.  This program shares their stories via digital marketing and honors their accomplishments at an announcement event.


  • Focus:  County Promotion for Business, Tourism & Workforce
  • Description:  During 2021, Marion County Development will be working with Neapolitan Labs in redesigning both the economic development web section and the tourism web section in collaboration with the redesign of the Marion County government website.

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