For those unaware, JobsOhio is the economic development arm of our great state. JobsOhio is the mechanism for grant allocation and business assistance via the state liquor taxes. APEG is our regional partner and includes 20+ counties that makeup Southeastern and Southern Ohio. Each year a report of the great successes of the organization is published as well as the emphasis points for the coming year. We take special note each year at what JO is seeking to do in our region and how APEG will help facilitate.
Here are the focus areas for APEG this coming year………….
Plans for 2019
1. Promoting a satellite expansion strategy around major metro areas to take advantage of the region’s labor surplus
In layman’s terms I think this means for those counties in close proximity to a major market (Columbus, Canton/Akron) they will seek to facilitate new ways to market to companies who would want the available property and workforce in places like Fairfield County, Pickaway, maybe Ross county.
2. Capitalizing on the potential for petrochemicals manufacturing and power generation tied to the Utica Shale
We in the Shale Crescent USA region know of the great potential for development of this opportunity. Assistance from the state in site readiness and overall identification of growth pockets will help us best take advantage of the opportunity before us. We must though realize that we have to do the heavy lifting in this end, and that our state and regional partners are supports not the major actors.
3. Creating plans and tools for speculative site and building development
I’ve beaten this horse to death but our biggest impediment to growth and continued success is lack in available sites for development. We need developable acreage close to major transportation corridors that have utility presence. Companies are looking for places to plant themselves and we simply do not have a stock of available properties that can address their need. 200 acres, with water sewer electric and a land owner who doesn’t want a trillion dollars, but a partnership agreement for long term developmental gains is key. We are always willing to engage conversations in that space.
4. Undertaking a participatory prosperity plan that will build a regional consensus on economic aspirations, goals, and strategies and create an economic development game plan for the region.
APEG President Mike Jacoby and the rest of the team have been having these meetings all over the region, gathering your input, and ensuring that a plan for future growth incorporates our experience. I am grateful we have persons working to draft plans that see each of our varying communities benefit. Its a challenge planning for Jackson County and its food service operations, Holmes County and its lumber divisions, Athens County and its education and burgeoning technology sector, and Washington County which specializes in plastics and polymer production. We are right in the boat with those people who are here to assist.
I encourage anyone who has read this much to see what the 2018 Jobs Ohio program yielded and consider the 2019 plan and how we can collectively push our communities forward.