GREENVILLE — Community leaders gathered Wednesday at the Bistro Off Broadway to hear the latest happenings with Partnering for Progress.
Partnering for Progress (P4P) is a collaborative economic development effort providing comprehensive support to the Darke County business community. This effort consists of a diverse group of public and private entities and individuals from across Darke County. The goal of P4P is to help foster new opportunity for Darke County businesses and citizens as well as the growth and vibrancy of the county’s communities.
Career Pathway Coordinator Lisa Wendel of Darke County Economic Development and Economic Development Director Mike Bowers addressed those gathered.
“The philosophy that we’re working on, right now in workforce, is moving from ‘It’s just one more thing’ to moving on to ‘It’s just what we do,’” Wendel said.
She mentioned a number of initiatives being implemented, including job shadowing for Darke County high school juniors, student paid internships, and a “senior straight to work” job fair.
“I think everybody thinks this workforce effort in Darke County is about business, but I’ve talked to most of you in this room and I believe you think it’s about kids. Even though you want a good workforce, it’s about kids for Darke County,” she said.
“Magic happens when businesses and schools collaborate for their best interests,” Wendel added.
Bowers told the group, as a result of workforce development efforts, there have been 2,000 jobs in the county — both retained and grown — over the past six years.
“That translates into over $60 million in payroll. That’s over $171 million in capital investment,” he said.
“We need to work with business retention and expansion. That will be a focus for me, for my office, because that’s the critical point,” he added.
Bowers said he had recently had the opportunity to travel to Dallas, Texas, with members of the Dayton Development Coalition.
“Everybody across the country is asking the same thing: How do you deal with the workforce issue? They were very interested in the Dayton region and how we’re dealing with workforce initiatives and the emerging workforce,” he said.
Bowers said it will take a combined effort between schools and manufacturers to meet the county’s present and future workforce needs.
He said it will require “Sitting down and finding out what your needs are, making sure we can meet those needs, making sure we’re lining up the resources where that need is.”
As it regards broader workforce initiatives by the state, Bowers said local efforts will still need to be made, regardless.
“How do we market our area? How do we put Greenville and west central Ohio out there ahead of what the State of Ohio’s doing, because we can’t necessarily wait for the State of Ohio to put some programs together, to wait on what their responses are going to be,” he explained.
“We need to put ourselves out ahead, and put ourselves in the forefront of workforce development. We will continue to focus our resources, we will continue to focus on workforce development, but it all comes down to the group that’s here” Bowers added.
He called P4P “an important piece” for the future of the county.
“Each and every one of you as individuals, who are investing in this, you’re investing in a product that will remain local,” he said.
For further information on Partnering for Progress, go online to www.darkecounty.com/why-darke-county/partnering-for-progress.aspx.
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