Stakeholders receive update on Allen County economic development project

By John Bush -

LIMA — Allen County’s business and community leaders received an update on the second phase of the U.S. Department of Defense’s Office of Economic Adjustment grant during a stakeholders meeting Wednesday.

Phase 2 focuses on four initiatives: local and regional collaborative growth, industry innovation and entrepreneurship, communication/social media and economic workforce development structure and alignment.

As part of the second phase, a survey of 400 individuals in the public and private sectors was conducted to determine key stakeholders in the county’s economic engine. The survey also provided stakeholders with an interactive map that shows how businesses relate to one another.

“There’s a gold mine of information on here,” said David Beurle, CEO of Future iQ, the consulting firm that created the network map.

The idea is to use this data to determine where gaps exist and ultimately come up with a plan to increase collaboration, resolve challenges, identify resources and build partnerships. The survey, which is open through the end of June, has been taken by an estimated 150 individuals. Roughly 400 surveys were distributed, and officials hope at least 200 people take the survey by the end of the month.

Further analysis of the network mapping survey will be presented at another stakeholder’s meeting in August. Maps will be used to build focus groups and reference groups during the project.

An analysis of Allen County’s workforce was also discussed at the meeting. The analysis includes the current and future needs of the county’s workforce, and how demographics and industry shifts could potentially affect these needs.

Through this analysis, Future iQ Research and Development Specialist Jeff Sachse said they will be able to determine what the county’s hiring needs are, and the number of available workers who have the skills to fill these positions.

The next stakeholder’s meeting will take place from 4 to 5 p.m. Aug. 10 in Lima. The workforce survey, along with a supply chain survey, will be discussed. Detailed network analysis will also be provided.

By John Bush

Reach John Bush at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @bush_lima

Reach John Bush at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @bush_lima

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