Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Here's more information about the Summit Prosperity Initiative


What is the Summit Prosperity Initiative?

For more than 3 years, a group of dedicated community leaders have been working on improving the quality of life and economic opportunities for Summit County residents. The group formed The Summit Prosperity Initiative (SPI) to focus on economic development issues with the goal of creating a healthy, sustainable, resilient year-round economy for our community. The SPI has brought local constituencies together in data-informed discussions over the county’s future. SPI is the economic development arm of The Summit Chamber.

SPI has focused on five Prosperity Elements to build a sustainable, prosperous community providing enhanced economic opportunity while protecting Summit County's community values:

  • Supporting more workforce housing
  • Focusing on sustainable tourism
  • Addressing gaps and needs for Infrastructure
  • Supporting health & human services needs
  • At the center has been: economic resiliency and economic prosperity

Born out of the mounting pressures to sustain a viable workforce in the central Rocky Mountains of Colorado, SPI collected local workforce data, studied several demographic and economic assessments, and worked with local leaders to identify significant local challenges and threats to Summit County’s local economy.

The goals of SPI include:
• Improve overall livability for the residents of Summit County.
• Develop a long-term framework to support county-wide and regional collaboration to create stronger communities and more resilient economies for the future.
• Engage local businesses, non-profits, governments and residents to support economic prosperity at the local and regional levels.
• Identify and support community projects that have local and regional economic significance.


Why is the Summit Prosperity Initiative needed?

The (SPI) task force believes that improving the quality of life in Summit County is our number one goal. And, we can achieve that by a focus on economic prosperity.

Tourism accounts for 70 percent of Summit County's economy. This outsized role in the local economy impacts every facet of Summit County life, from wages and income to housing, land use, mobility, workforce capacity, politics, infrastructure, social services, health and wellness, environmental protection and stewardship, race relations, education and training, and so many others.

Summit County’s tourism sector has fueled a sustained expansion of the economy as a whole during the past 10 years and created thousands of local jobs, overall, however these are generally low-paying, low-skill jobs.

An economy like Summit County’s that is dominated by a single, lower-paying sector has resulted in a crisis with a "missing middle" class who can't afford housing, childcare, healthcare and the high cost of living, which causes many in their late 20s to 30s to leave the community in search of better opportunities.

When the COVID pandemic hit in 2020, the underlining economic issues of our community were highlighted and Summit County was one of the worst impacted communities in all of Colorado with the 2nd highest unemployment, business closures, a dire need for rent relief, food banks, additional subsidies mental health support and a migration of the workforce out of our county.

SPI has identified the need to diversify the local economy away from low-wage tourism jobs by creating new opportunities to “ladder” employees to higher-paying positions in future-focused industries that can leverage the county’s current economic
base.

This will require creative approaches. That is where the SPI will focus.


How Can I get involved?

Invest your time: To help shape the strategy and implement the tactics

Invest your funds: We're looking for funding to help with the planning efforts and the launch of programs and initiatives.

Contact us: amy.m.kemp@gmail.com or cmihm@q.com.