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Four-county workforce, economic development strategy complete

By STEPHANIE KOWAL, Job & Family Services

Economic development and workforce development organizations in Huron, Ottawa, Sandusky and Seneca counties representing the partnership of the 4CG initiative have finished their Regional Strategic Workforce and Economic Development Strategy. A summary of the final document was presented to local economic development organizations, workforce partners, county commissioners, village, cities, townships, state representatives and educational entities on June 23. An in-person rollout for businesses and other stakeholders is planned for later this summer.

4CG represents the 4 County Group 4 Collaborative Growth. The group began working together six years ago to collectively address the region’s workforce challenges. This analysis and project plan have received support from the Greater Workforce Development Board and was funded by a $110,000 grant from Ohio Department of Job & Family Services. Final analysis and strategies were based on SWOT analysis, industry sector meetings, focus groups, online survey and key person interviews, and was conducted by consulting firm Poggemeyer Design Group with subcontracted services through the Bowling Green State University Center for Regional Development.

Action items are categorized under 8 pillars:

  • Education/Lifelong Learning
  • Marketing/Branding
  • Infrastructure/ Capital Resources
  • Regional Collaboration/Continued Partnerships
  • Tourism.
  • Business/Industry Activities
  • Quality of Life
  • Legislative Action

Of these, key takeaways include “develop, create, and maintain a multi-media marketing campaign that will enable the area to sell itself regionally, state-wide, nationally and internationally” and “create a unique identity and sense of community for the four-county region.” Additionally, the plan recommends that the 4CG partners continue to work together to implement action items identified under each pillar and that the partnership will strengthen funding applications with the regional approach.

Following the summary, the final document is to be presented to the boards of county commissioners from the partner counties for adoption.

Stephanie Kowal is director of the Ottawa County Deptartment of Job & Family Services, 419-707-8649,