Charles County Economic Development Department announced today that Claudia Bellony-Atanga, economic research specialist, has earned designation as a Certified Community Researcher (CCR) from the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER).  She is the first African-American woman in the country and only the second person in the state of Maryland to achieve this certification.  The CCR is the highest industry standard for recognizing excellence in economic research and demonstrates applied skills in demographic, industry, workforce, and economic analysis. CCRs are research professionals who possess the highest level of mastery of economic and related data analysis and consistently demonstrate their ability to utilize these skills in applied research applications.

“We are a data-driven department,” said Economic Development Department Deputy Director Marcia Keeth.  “Claudia Bellony-Atanga’s excellent research skills have allowed us to set priorities and make decisions using the most up-to-date and relevant information available.  We are proud and thrilled by this latest achievement, but given Claudia’s enthusiasm and determination, we are not surprised.”

CCRs undertake a rigorous course of training, are evaluated on their portfolio of work, and are required to give a presentation on an approved certification project to a peer review panel.  Bellony-Atanga presented her research on the projected economic impacts of medical cannabis on Charles County.

“Claudia is a highly valued member of the C2ER,” said Chairman of C2ER George Harben, CCR, CEcD.  “Her certification presentation on medical cannabis demonstrated comprehensive and concise thinking combined with cutting-edge analysis.  Her work was truly groundbreaking for this industry.  She is a welcome addition to the growing CCR pool.”

“Data savvy researchers like Claudia are increasingly in demand across a range of organizations,” said C2ER Certification Committee Chair Alan Spell. “In addition to her knowledge, this certification also highlights her leadership strengths to find solutions and effectively communicate her findings.  Claudia is serving her community well, and I am so glad she will be a role model and mentor to our membership.”

Claudia will be recognized at the C2ER December Board Meeting and presented with an award at the 2018 Annual Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, in June. The C2ER Annual Conference is the primary national conference for economic development and labor market information analysts.