Tuesday, April 28, 2009

business-journal highlights recent Interstate Region Summit

good story from the b-j on Thursday's summit here.

some cut-n-paste highlights of what the 200 in attendance were a part of (read full article here):
"The initiative is intended to help Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties in Ohio and Mercer and Lawrence counties in Pennsylvania work together to compete as a region. Helping to organize the effort are Roy Vanderford of Indiana-based Thomas P. Miller and Associates, and Linda Fowler, a senior advisor with the National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership. Vanderford and Fowler were keynote speakers at the summit, where they discussed the early draft of the action plan and how to put it into effect.

... said the action plan is still being molded, said it should be ready within the next three weeks.

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“What we are suggesting at this point is that the building blocks are mostly in place,” Vanderford said. “What we need is the tissue that holds it together.”

That tissue starts with the Oh-Penn Competitiveness Council, which will be made up of community leaders whose responsibility it will be to set goals, measure progress and maintain accountability. Members will also be responsible for creating the region’s brand and marketing it.

“It’s not about building a new bureaucracy,” Vanderford said. “That’s the last thing we want to do.”

The region must also develop networks for its education systems, businesses and career centers to share information and strategies about how to get workers the skills they need, and how to get employers the workers they want, Vanderford said.

- - -

Govs. Ted Strickland of Ohio and Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania established the regional designation, which was awarded a $250,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Labor in February 2008. The regional administrator for the department’s Employment and Training Administration in Region 2, Philadelphia, Lenita Jacobs-Simmons, commended the counties for using the money to get the project moving.

“The community engagements and vision this region has done already is more exciting than anything we’ve dealt with,” Jacobs-Simmons said. “And you did it with $250,000.”

- - -

Mahoning and Columbiana One-Stop is setting up a civic networking Web site to keep people involved in the program, said Jessica Borza, chief operating officer. Although the leadership committee is charged with keeping things going, “you don’t need to wait for us,” Borza said.

more reports on workforce here.

from a recent report:
"The Five-County area has 35 postsecondary education and training providers offering about 480 different programs: 7 public adult schools with occupational programs; 10 two-year, technical and community colleges; 7 four-year colleges and universities; 9 private business and technical schools; and 2 hospital-based programs."

Also, it's interesting to note from Mahoning County, about double the number who commute to Mercer County just on the other side of the border commute to Cuyahoga County. (appendix B)

and a much commented and thought-provoking blog on regionalism in Ohio here at The Urbanophile.

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