This summer is the tenth anniversary of TwispWorks and there is much to celebrate! We’ve met the challenge of making the TwispWorks facility operationally sustainable and have received the deed to the campus. We’ve created vital programs like the Methow Investment Network and Methow Made to support local businesses, artists and producers. And, we’ve continued to advocate for issues important to our community and our local economy.
As we make plans for the next ten years, TwispWorks invited everyone to a series of community listening sessions to evaluate how we’re doing in the community and how we can best serve the Methow Valley in the future. After hearing from over one hundred and fifty people at the sessions, in focus groups and in an online survey, four themes emerged.
The first theme had to do with supporting economic diversity in the Methow Valley. This included a call for continued focus on small business consultation, incubation, and financial support. Community members expressed the need for developing markets outside the Methow Valley and creating business opportunities outside the tourist sector – a clear confirmation that our vision of a diverse and resilient economy resonates with the community. A second theme had to do with developing a vocation/technical training program and opportunities for skilled trades. Members also expressed the need for labor, both within the trades and in essential service jobs. A third issue we heard was the need for continued advocacy – like support of the Broadband initiative and ways to increase the ability to work remotely from the Methow. Lastly, community members expressed a growing concern with income inequality within the Valley and how to support a healthy economy that ensure a better quality of life for everyone.
We look forward to hearing from you more and working with workers, entrepreneurs and businesses to support a healthy economy in the Methow Valley!