The College of Southern Maryland’s (CSM) role in the economic revitalization of the Town of Indian Head received national recognition when the CSM Velocity Center, and related efforts to strengthen the region, took home an award from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).
The award for Excellence and Leadership in Economic Development was presented to the Charles County Economic Development Department (EDD) last month at IEDC’s Annual Conference. The center earned a silver award in the real estate and reuse category. The EDD shared the award and presented CSM and other project partners with an official citation from the Charles County Board of County Commissioners at their fall meeting held at the CSM Velocity Center on Nov. 2.
“The award recognizes all the visionaries and the risk-takers,” said Taylor Yewell, EDD chief of development, in presenting the award. “It was a whole lot of dedicated people who collaborated and hung in there and made sure that this happened,”
The CSM Velocity Center is a 13,000 square foot collaborative learning space that supports workforce development and economic growth in Southern Maryland. It opened last year as part of a partnership with the Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head Division in collaboration with the EDD and other stakeholders.
The center was also recently recognized as a catalyst for economic growth and community renewal by the Community Development Network (CDN) of Maryland during the state’s celebration of Economic and Community Development Week. CDN is showcasing the center in a video they are now airing statewide to promote the CSM Velocity Center as an example of what can happen to a community’s vitality when community colleges, businesses, and governments successfully collaborate. (see video below).
“This exciting new facility [serves] as a space for innovation and collaboration for CSM, for the Navy, for Indian Head and for the entire community,” Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said when presenting CSM with the Rural Maryland Council’s check for $350,000 to help build out the Velocity Center in 2019. “This incredible project is the result of years of collaborative effort and it is a shining example of what is possible when government, our colleges, and universities, and the local communities work together,” Hogan said.
The center is also home to resources for the broader community. The Makerspace in the Velocity Center serves as a collaborative workspace equipped with 3D printers, laser cutters, and soldering irons. Workforce and professional development courses such as Computer-Aided Design, Government Procurement, and Social Entrepreneurship are also offered at the center. So far, the project has indirectly delivered 60 jobs to the Indian Head and $6 million dollars in the enhanced commercial tax base to the town and county, according to the EDD website. It’s also helped to reactivate another nearby blighted and underutilized property that has been vacant for more than 10 years.
“It’s not often that projects get that sort of recognition, but it’s extra special when you’re talking about the Velocity Center project where all levels of government came together to formulate and make it happen,” Indian Head Mayor Brandon Paulin said.
The center has already hosted numerous events in partnership with Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head division. For example, this past July, the Velocity Center hosted the “Wargame for Innovation and Frontline Improvisation,” which brought together technology developers, military officials and acquisition experts to simulate different war fighting concepts.
Learn more about the CSM Velocity Center online at https://www.csmd.edu/about/locations/velocity-center/index.html.