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Building production networks for increased efficiency and impact.

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Vision and Strategy

Given that our regional economy is characterized by many small scale enterprises, we must develop approaches that link these enterprises into more effective systems to increase production efficiencies and to expand market reach. We see opportunities for new or stronger production networks in tourism, wood product manufacturing, agriculture, and handcraft, among other asset-based sectors.

Desired Outcomes

  • Diverse and thriving asset-based businesses operating as part of efficient production systems resulting in more middle class jobs
  • Stronger local markets for local goods
  • Increase in exportation of local goods 
  • Economic opportunity for Maine Woods individuals and families meets or exceeds Maine average

Each month MWC picks a project to feature that we perceive as moving the Maine Woods towards the desired outcomes outlined above. If you would like to submit your project for consideration, email Shaunacy Cobb.

Northern Border Regional Commission Funded 
By Shaunacy Cobb, Mountain Counties Heritage

President Obama signed the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act into law which includes $1.5 million for the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC). Congressman Mike Michaud from Maine's Second Congressional District authored the legislation. The NBRC is charged with investing in the economic development of the most economically distressed areas of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and parts of Upstate New York. Maine Woods counties included are: Aroostook, Franklin, Oxford, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Somerset, and Washington.

“The economic development commission will now be able to begin working for the people of Maine and the northern border region,” said Michaud. “If there was ever a time to get this commission off the ground it is now. This commission will help our most economically distressed areas by funding projects that will create jobs and promote business development.” 

The Commissions core functions are:
  • to assess the needs and assets of the region,
  • develop economic and infrastructure strategies and provide grants to support development,
  • encourage private investment,
  • develop priorities in a regional plan with 5-year goals,
  • work with states and locals to develop model development legislation,
  • and encourage interstate cooperation.

Approximately 40% of funding will be used to develop transportation, public, and telecommunications infrastructure. Half of the funding will be used for "distressed" counties and "isolated areas of distress". 

The NBRC’s approach to regional economic development is based on the highly successful Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) model. “This effective public–private partnership model has enjoyed overwhelming bipartisan support because it works and because it has been a good investment for the American taxpayer. For example, in Fiscal Year 2005, each dollar of ARC funding leveraged $2.57 in other public funding and $8.46 in private funding. This represents a tremendous return on investment.”

Maine Mountain Heritage