Adams County 4Community Project Economic Development Roundtable Thursday, May 18, 2006 Roundtable Report Introduction At 6:00 pm on Thursday, May 16, 2006, Wes Kuntzman convened the meeting of the 4 Communities Economic Development Roundtable. The community was well represented by 44 individuals who came from a wide variety of constituencies: 1. Billie Stevens 23. David Koenig 2. Al Lehman 24. Mike Schwartz 3. Ed Coil 25. Alan Tio 4. Mike Pettibone 26. John Mann 5. Bart Alexander 27. Dan Kershner 6. Dan Michaels 28. Lynn Selking 7. Steve Baumann 29. Pam Hampshire 8. Bill Borne 30. Doug Baumann 9. Barry Ehinger 31. Rex Moore 10. Tim Hartigan 32. Linda Settlemyre 11. Doug Milligan 33. Garry Jones 12. Steve Hampshire 34. Randy Lehman 13. Floyd Liechty 35. Rex Hinsky 14. Connie Potter 36. Barb Engle 15. Joe Caffee 37. Eric Mann 16. Wylie Sirk 38. Carol Bowers 17. Andy Barrett 39. Charlie Bowers 18. Fred Isch 40. Jay Gould 19. Dave Bracey 41. Bob Rhoades 20. Matt Lehman 42. Rosemary Puterbaugh 21. Mark Settlemyre 43. Andrew Briggs 22. Dennis Overdorf 44. John Minch What is Economic Development? Lead facilitator, John Sampson guided participants in a general discussion of what comprises economic development. The group agreed that economic development was a complex interconnection of issues including job creation, income generation, education/workforce development, infrastructure, and quality of life Where are we? To help answer the question, “where are we?” Elaine Fisher took the group through an environmental scan process asking them to identify Adams County strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats or challenges – with the following results. Strengths: Weaknesses: • People/ Family • Location • Heritage • Dependent on recreational vehicle • Schools industry • Values/principles/morals • Lack of diversity in population • Location • Large elderly population • Infrastructure • Lack of regional involvement • Access to health care • Limited access to education (higher • Agricultural industry and technical) • Industrial base • Amish population • Diverse industry • Heritage/identity have not mixed • Local financial resources • Lack of cultural opportunities • Clean, safe and Friendly • Low unemployment • Large and small businesses • Brain drain • Retiree population • Lack of right kind of jobs • Affordable • Low income population • Unique identity • “More memories than dreams” • Low unemployment • Lack of cultural • Dependable workforce/Work ethic diversity/environmental factors • Available space/land • Good leadership • The Amish community Opportunities Threats/Challenges • Identify/build industry clusters • No land use planning • Develop recreation/tourism • Lack of action! • Agriculture • No internal marketing of • Manufacturing = furniture strengths/assets • Connect existing businesses with • Funding for infrastructure available business resources • Globalization • Develop a unified, countywide • Empty Buildings industrial park • Not “wired” - lack of advanced • Create countywide Plan telecommunication infrastructure in Commission some part of counties • “Big” picture of county • Organize countywide marketing • Conduct internal marketing • Globalization • Available real estate Where do we want to go? Asked to vision their ideal future, participants described it in the following terms: The future Adams County will have……. • a diverse workforce (variety of • a shared vision of the future and a employees) plan to get there • a variety of non-manufacturing jobs • a strong tax base • a strong technology base • an entrepreneurial business climate • strong retention of grads (brain • an educated citizenry (workforce) drain) • expanding existing business • excellent schools • a strong business retention • managed growth program • a unique identity, based on heritage • a robust tourism industry • good paying jobs • a culture of cooperation and • a rich quality of life collaboration among individual • 21st century infrastructure communities • a broad base of leadership Through an organized voting process, the group determined the priority level of each vision component or Goal and in small group discussions identified some specific objectives that might help meet that Goal Ideal Future: Goal 1. (50 votes) Adams County will provide excellent education for all citizens (50) • Locate and define mission of Adams County Learning Center by June 1, 2007 o Responsibility – Purdue Extension and Board, Area 18 • Re-investigate career and technical education (K-14) o Responsibility – Area 18, Job Works, school corps • Develop marketing plan • Life-long learning • Conduct demand analysis studies using focus groups, survey o Chamber of Commerce o Job Works o Temp agencies o Completed by Jan. 1, 2007 • Define outcomes from Learning Center – Set Goals o GED production o Higher Ed offerings o Internet learning o Enrichment programs Goal 2. (34 votes) Adams County will grow and maintain a high-tech/advanced manufacturing industry sector • Industry that is technically advanced, requiring high-level skills training • Plan and develop appropriate infrastructure • NIIC/support for entrepreneurs • Develop a technically trained workforce • Involve Chambers of Commerce and local banks o Work with RMP, respond to leads o Conduct analysis of community (educational resources/programs), partner with Ivy Tech o Support/encourage existing business o Involve/learn from successful entrepreneurs o Build a county “Hub” (clearinghouse) o Provide high-tech access throughout county Goal 3. (33 votes) Adams County will develop a diverse economy that provides employment opportunity for all • Develop a proactive business retention program • Develop infrastructure – basic o High tech master plan county wide $ • Create a Value Added Agriculture Plan • Identify Adams County/Regions clusters now – what should we target • Develop Entrepreneurship – education in high school through Continuing Ed. • Nothing is easy. Goal 4. (28 votes) Access to high speed internet will be provided through-out Adams County • Internet and cell phones o Law enforcement o Education o Hospital o Government o Local industry • Create a task force o Identify service prototypes and service areas o Meet with providers and identify needed service • Check with State agencies o State regulations o State programs • Research what other communities have done • Investigate incentives – existing/proposed industry • Land use – allow cell towers • Possibly subsidize service • Fiber optic/wireless Goal 5. (22 votes) Expand social and recreational richness for everyone • Youth-oriented activities that are non-athletic • Choices – for youth • Senior citizen involvement • Cultural/fine arts center/location • Bike paths/walking trails that connect wetlands, etc • Specialty shopping/craft shops • Link senior centers and create opportunities for their involvement o Mentoring o Volunteering o Part time employment o Share information/publicize • Encourage school corps to share resources to expand offerings in academic/cultural areas. • Build “Greenway” to connect with wetlands and others (The Plan) Other Goals: Goal 6. Diversify the agricultural industry (20) Goal 7. Make affordable health care available to everyone (19) Goal 8. Build and maintain strong inter-county communication (8) Goal 9. Maintain a safe, crime free community (6) Goal 10. Develop inter-generational communities (extended families) (5) Goal 11. Maintain respect for the environment (5) Goal 12. Encourage a broad diversity of age (1) Conclusions and Next Steps Initial assessments conducted by the 4Communities leadership identified the following key issues: • Lack of diversity in the local economy • Need for better paying jobs (living wage) • Not replacing jobs as quickly as they leave • Need employment opportunities for unskilled labor Clearly, the priority Goals identified at the Roundtable Discussion, support and directly address these key concerns. Roundtable participants indicated a strong desire to maintain the momentum generated by their discussion and suggested a number of possible next steps including: 1. utilizing the existing 4Communities Steering Committee as a mechanism for moving the Adams County Economic Development initiative forward 2. Organizing a separate Economic Development Steering Committee (not mutually exclusive from the first suggestion) Possible considerations: • Create an Adams County Economic Development Committee – it could be a sub-committee of the 4Communities Steering Committee or free standing. • The Adams County Economic Development Corporation Board would seem to be a good place to start. Other individuals could be added if broader representation is needed in order to address the full scope of the issues identified. At a minimum this broad discussion should provide some guidance to the EDC as it develops its future scope of work and might likely help identify the most appropriate individual to replace the current Executive Director, Mike Ripley. • It might also make sense to create some Task Forces or Ad Hoc Committees to fully develop the priority Goals and Objectives identified at the Roundtable and identify the appropriate organizations/parties/coalitions to assume responsibility for moving them forward.
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