Wednesday, March 31, 2010

EDC recognizing Owensboro Existing Businesses at April Chamber Breakfast

Healthy communities have strong, healthy businesses. The Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation is recognizing the role that existing businesses play in the local economy at the April Rooster Booster Breakfast. Two-thirds of the new jobs created nationally come from growth in existing businesses—that statistic holds true in Owensboro. A top priority at GO-EDC is the existing business program. It is a key strategy to creating wealth and opportunity for the region.

Sharla Austin Darnell serves as EDC’s single point of contact, a full-time staff person dedicated to the needs of existing businesses. She is available to work with local businesses to assist with expansion projects, identify incentives and workforce needs, and help increase competitiveness in the wider marketplace.

The regional economy has faced numerous challenges during the recent economic downturn. Despite these, the manufacturing climate in Owensboro remains healthy. Owensboro’s overall economic strength index is higher than it has been in five years. Manufacturing job retention in Owensboro is 94 percent over the past decade. In contrast, the nation as a whole retained less than 85 percent of manufacturing jobs over the same time period. During the recession alone the EDC worked 16 expansion projects totaling more than $90 million in new investment and 500 new jobs.

Talent is a major aspect of existing industry competitiveness. People are the most valuable natural resource in the 21st Century. Today we are highlighting several tools and partnerships focusing on helping companies attract, retain and develop talent.

One such partnership is with the Green River Area Development District. GRADD offers many services to employers through the Workforce Investment Act. On-the-Job Training assists an employer in hiring and training new employees efficiently and economically with wage reimbursement incentives. Incumbent Worker training for layoff aversion provides funds to businesses for the purpose of providing skill enhancement. EDC and GRADD also work closely with the Owensboro Community and Technical College on various workforce development programs, many of which come with significant state incentives.

Another “tool for talent” is OwensboroWorks.com--GreenRiverWorks.com. These are web-based regional talent pool of more than 4,500 potential employees organized in an interactive, user-friendly database. Employers can search for potential candidates based on specific criteria, and job seekers post their experience all free of charge.

GO-iNTERN is an additional free “tool for talent” provided to local businesses. Employers can post internship opportunities atintern.owensboro.com free of charge. GO-EDC offers internship development assistance to interested companies.

For more information please contact Sharla Austin Darnell at GO-EDC at 270-926-4339 or sdarnell@owensboro.com.