LIMA — As 2018 begins its homeward stretch to 2019, Greater Lima Region, Inc. spotlighted the series of initiatives the group has made to “create a new era of economic growth in the region” during its latest semi-annual update.
President/CEO Jeff Sprague said through both private and public partnerships, the organization has been able expand the number of jobs in the region by 7,000 to 8,000, and the group is on track to hit its job-growth goals.
“We all learn together. We’re already successful, and we’ll keep building on that success,” Sprague said.
Jed Metzger, president of the Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce, took to the podium after Sprague to explain the marketing campaign the chamber created with the help of NOW Marketing Group, which builds on the region’s tag of “Real American Strength.” Metzger encouraged Greater Lima Region, Inc.’s partners to take advantage of some of the branding materials available online to keep Lima businesses aligned with the region’s brand.
“The only way this works is if we all do it,” Metzger said. “If we’re going to be a stronger community, we need to be a stronger region.”
Joe Patton, the director of Allen County Jobs and Family Services, followed Metzger with a presentation describing some of the programs he’s been able to initiate in the leadership role he began at the beginning of 2018.
Patton said Allen County JFS has been re-aligned with an “employer-driven model” that has “brought a lot of success to our clientele.” In the past, ACJFS played a more passive role as a group that would administer benefit programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, but Patton said that the new ACJFS takes a more active role in trying to prepare individuals for the workforce.
Some of the programs Patton highlighted including training assistance funds that provide half of an employee’s wages as they are being trained by local businesses, embedding job coaches into local schools and creating a program meant to eliminate the phenomenom he called the “benefit cliff.”
“What Joe has done with Ohio Means Jobs is (like) they’ve taken the Cleveland Browns and brought them up to championship level,” Sprague said.
Other speakers included Link/Lima Allen County Program Director Doug Arthur on MakerFest’s appeal to area youth, Paulding County Economic Development Director Jerry Zielke about his county’s economic growth, Hardin County’s Community Development Director Jacqualine Fitzgerald about Kenton’s downtown revitalization efforts and Allen County Auditor Rachael Gilroy about the removal of blighted housing undertaken by the Allen County Land Reutilization Corporation, which she heads.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-0242-0398.