GREENVILLE – Partnering for Progress (P4P) celebrated its 10th anniversary on Wednesday at the P4P Fall Mixer held at the Bistro Off Broadway. A large contingent of local business and manufacturing leaders joined with local government and education leaders to learn about the economic development progress made in Darke County over the past decade.
“When this first started, we were talking about the importance of manufacturing and getting more companies into the county and that was the focus,” said Mike Bowers, director of Darke County Economic Development. “And then it became a workforce piece,” he said. The transition to developing a workforce has allowed his office to employ a workforce specialist and they’ve worked to ensure local businesses will have a pool of employees to choose from.
Tamala Marley, workforce specialist, shared the numerous programs her office has put together for high school students to highlight the career opportunities found close to home, including the senior Inspire Career Concert, junior job shadowing, sophomore manufacturer tours and regular superintendent and manufacturing meetings.
Bowers stressed the need for housing in Darke County. “Housing can be obstacle to that growth,” he said. Versailles has taken it head on. They have two subdivisions moving forward.” He further stated Greenville has some opportunities as does Arcanum, Ansonia, and New Madison. Bowers is working with Greenville to do something with the old Marsh building and “how that could move things forward with housing, not for just Greenville, but for Darke County,” he said.
Another area of that county that has witnessed several projects this year is Osgood. “The Village of Osgood, with just 300 folks, had five projects moving forward this year. We’ve gotten through three of the five projects and now they’re looking at seeing how they can build a small industrial park and increase their housing stock,” said Bowers.
He explained businesses fight for employees and Darke County is in competition with other communities to get a workforce. “We need families to move to our areas,” he said.
The need is great, especially with Midmark’s $46 million investment in the technology center. “We need housing and we need opportunities to bring in the 110 employees,” Bowers added.
Quality of life and amenities offered by a community are important to attracting families. “We are very fortunate in Darke County because there is a group of folks that epitomizes that quality of life portion. You look at what YOLO has done for Greenville and Versailles. The amphitheater in Heritage Park has been a great addition. You look at an urban park that is part of the downtown landscape of Greenville. Those are just great quality of life additives that we get the benefit of,” Bowers said.
Bowers presented Phillip Pierri of YOLO with a certificate of recognition. Bowers said, “That next generation is very important to how this county grows and thrives.” Pierri shared that YOLO completed two projects this past year, amphitheater and urban park, which invested $1.3 million in Darke County. “We do that and are able to do that because of most of you in this room. The generosity of this community and how they’ve come together to support our organization and what we want to do for the community…we are very blessed.”
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