Washington, DC Unveils Six New Goals To Reach By 2028

Dubbed "DC’s Comeback Plan," Washington, DC’s new economic development plan is already helping one technology company grow in the district.

Washington, DC recently unveiled DC’s Comeback Plan, a tool for setting the district’s economic development goals for the next five years. It centers around making the District of Columbia a place for successful businesses, opportunity-rich neighborhoods, and thriving people, and has already helped at least one high-growth cybersecurity firm double its footprint in downtown DC.

“This is a comeback that is focused on equity. This is about making sure we have the revenues to support our world-class city services, our robust network of social programs, and the resources – like our schools and rec centers – that keep people in DC,” commented Mayor Muriel Bowser. “People stay in and come to Washington, DC because they want to change the world – because they recognize DC as a place where you can bring big ideas to life. Our comeback is about unlocking the full potential of our people, our neighborhoods, and our businesses.”

Washington DC Comeback Plan
The Wharf, Washington, DC. (Source: Washington DC Economic Partnership)

The plan sets six goals to achieve by 2028:

  • Create 35,000 new jobs in high-growth target sectors, which will include increasing apprenticeship programs and filling gaps in training and credentialing;
  • Increase the share of minority-owned employer businesses to 33% of all employer businesses;
  • Increase access to opportunity for residents and eliminate key amenity gaps (food, housing, and internet) across all neighborhoods;
  • Add 15,000 residents to the downtown population by adding seven million square feet of residential units;
  • Retain current residents and reach a population of 725,000;
  • Increase economic prosperity in DC by lifting the median household income of Black residents by $25,000.

The plan serves as the District’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) and will be submitted to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, enabling the district, local nonprofits, and universities to pursue certain types of federal funding.

A New Tool For DC Business Growth

The Vitality Fund is among the new tools the district is using to attract business. The multi-year, performance-based incentive program supports existing companies in target industries actively planning to relocate, expand, or retain their physical location in Washington, DC. The goal is to encourage employers to locate in DC and create jobs, bringing the city closer to its job creation goals in high-growth sectors, including technology. Expenses such as rent, tenant improvements, down payment assistance, workforce training, and recruitment can be covered with the program funds.

The Vitality Fund influenced Virtru Corporation, an innovative cybersecurity company and the first applicant of the program, to stay and grow in DC. The Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED), in collaboration with the Washington DC Economic Partnership (WDCEP), will continue supporting the relocation and expansion of Virtru in the district.

“As we pursue our goals to revitalize Downtown DC and bring 35,000 new jobs in high-growth sectors, the Vitality Fund will be a critical tool,” said John Falcicchi, DMPED. “We are thrilled to help Virtru grow in DC. It’s a win-win. The companies benefit from our incredible talent, amenities, and city services, and we win by creating jobs for our residents. This is exactly what Mayor Bowser meant when she said, ‘You win by winning…every day, every project, every initiative.’”

Virtru has been an advocate for DC since it was founded in 2012, including representing Washington at SXSW in 2015, and scaling up data security and privacy services for many of the district’s most prominent organizations. With a new 13-year lease and more than 30 full-time employees in DC, about half of whom are district residents, Virtru expects to grow its local workforce exponentially over the next five years and beyond.

DC Among Top Cities For Tech Job PostsWashington DC

Tech employment holds steady heading into 2023 as industry companies add workers for the 25th consecutive month, according to CompTIA analysis.

“There’s no place in the world like Washington, DC, and we are thrilled to be expanding Virtru’s headquarters in our new office space on Pennsylvania Avenue,” said John Ackerly, Virtru CEO and co-founder. “Virtru operates at the intersection of business, policy, and driving positive societal change — so there’s no better place for us to continue growing and scaling our business. In partnership with local vendors — DC’s best and brightest — we are designing our new headquarters with innovation, collaboration, and community in mind. We are proud to create a space for our customers and the community to connect with our team as we build a brighter future for data privacy and security, together.”

“The Vitality Fund allows DC to be more competitive in business retention, expansion, and attraction,“ said Audrey Polk, Vice President, Corporate Attraction, WDCEP.  “The WDCEP’s role is to support the momentum that is building in DC and growth of industry sectors such as technology and consulting. Virtru joins other leaders in these sectors including Meta, Google, TikTok and Boston Consulting Group.”

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