Skip to Content
Garrett County, Maryland Seal
Garrett County Government
301.334.8970 |

Garrett County Leads County Governments Nationwide

Last Updated on Dec 13, 2013 at 9:00am | Board of Commissioners

Garrett County, Maryland leads county governments nationwide
OAKLAND, Md.—Garrett County, Maryland was recognized as a leader among county governments nationwide in a recent study by the National Association of Counties (NACo). The study highlighted various counties throughout the country that take innovative approaches to bolster economic growth and improve the quality of life within communities.
Garrett County, the westernmost county in Maryland, is celebrated for its small population, natural beauty and rich agricultural economy. The study applauded Garrett County for its long-term economic planning, support of targeted industries and entrepreneurs, and education and workforce initiatives.
The county suffered from high unemployment rates after the loss of a major employer in the 1990s. In the years following, Garrett County revised its outreach strategy and welcomed new industries and companies on the move. With an economic foot firmly planted in agriculture and manufacturing, Garrett County sharpened its focus on tourism, commerce, construction, value-added agriculture and the arts to diversify their economy.
“We had to focus on more than one major industry to keep Garrett County competitive and resilient,” says Mike Koch, Director of the Garrett County Department of Economic Development. Thanks to a variety of inspired growth initiatives, Garrett County’s economy is on the rise in a variety of industries. Today, tourism and recreation thrive in Garrett County, which welcomes 1.2 million visitors each year. Investment in commerce, construction, agriculture and the arts continues to grow.
Koch attributes the county’s economic competitiveness to the collaboration between county staff, elected officials, community members, businesses, schools, non-profits and the county’s new ‘Reinventing Rural’ campaign, highlighting the benefits of living and doing business in a rural county. “Our aim is to highlight the many advantages of our rural setting, which offers attractive incentives for business looking to start, or relocate, their company here in Garrett County, specifically those in the recreation, technology, manufacturing and commerce industries.”
The NACo study also praised Garrett County for fostering an educated, technologically advanced workforce through partnerships with local schools. One such initiative is the Garrett College Career Technology Training Center (CTTC), which helps students develop skills essential to the area workforce.
Another initiative that encourages workforce readiness is the Garrett County Scholarship Program (GCSP). The scholarship provides two years of tuition at Garrett College to any county high school graduate. Since its inception in 2006, the high school graduation rate and matriculation to post-secondary schools are on the rise.
Growth, according to Koch, is in what you know. “It’s become increasingly important for communities to focus on and embrace the strengths that are already present,” says Koch, an idea that is further enforced through Garrett County’s ‘Reinventing Rural’ campaign. “We focused on education, our dedicated workforce and dividing our attention between various emerging industries in our county.”
About Garrett County, Maryland:
Nestled in the mountains of Western Maryland, Garrett County features high elevations—and higher opportunities for prosperity.  Lured by an abundance of resources and natural beauty, over 900 businesses elevate their workforce—and profit margins—in Garrett County.  Boasting a solid workforce and affordable real estate, Garrett County blends modern conveniences with country living.  Efficient by design, our technology and transportation infrastructure redefine rural life, offering convenience and proximity to key markets.
Boasting 90,000 acres of parks, trails, and lakeside amenities, life in Garrett County is worth the climb.  Year-round recreation abounds from slope to shore.  Visit and elevate your lifestyle today.