Coming Together to Grow 4/17/2014 Article
5 May 2014
YCDC sends a big welcome to our 16 new members investing in Coming Together to Grow in 2014. A list of investors can be seen at www.yorkdevco.com.
As seen by looking around, there has been an enormous amount of activity in our area lately. The year so far has been busy for YCDC staff and I would like to share some of YCDC’s impact.
First, a welcome goes to Jacobson Companies, who opened around the first of the year. They are operating the DuPont Pioneer warehouse in the York Industrial Park. This project started with the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (NDED) receiving a Request for Information from a company looking for sites in a multi-state area. NDED sent out a request to Economic Development organizations who they knew had available sites in their communities. YCDC responded to this request, included the City of York, and coordinated the site visit, community tour and many other items as the project proceeded. Thank you to the City of York for your dedicated partnership and contributions to this project, as this project would not have resulted in a win without your support.
In January, YCDC announced Power Track Sliding Door Systems was locating in York. Their business, initially brought 3 jobs, and a new family to the community. They have since hired a couple more employees and have another position open for those who are interested.
The Child Advocacy Center from Lincoln opened a satellite office on Epworth Campus in February. The Center provides forensic interviews, ongoing advocacy and support for children who are suspected of having been victims of sexual abuse, serious physical abuse or neglect, or have witnessed a violent crime, been found in a drug-endangered environment, or have been recovered from a kidnapping. This was a unique project for YCDC, and we enjoyed the partnership in making the connections in the community for the staff of the Child Advocacy Center. I encourage you to watch for their ribbon cutting and open house in May.
Recently, I was able tour Klute Inc., to see the new machinery the Nebraska Progress Loan Fund assisted with purchasing. In the last half of 2013, YCDC connected Klute Inc. to NDED to receive $760,000 in funds. Klute Inc. was able to access these funds because they had $6 million expansion ready to start, a staff ready to respond, and YCDC was aware of this expansion so the connections were made.
Recently Custom Wood Products had a ribbon cutting for the new owners, Mike and Andrea Wall. They became the owners of this existing business in January, allowing our County to retain a business. YCDC assisted the succession with business plan review, and connected Mike and Andrea to the Southeast Nebraska Economic Development District for gap financing.
YCDC has a 2014 goal of 30 Business Retention and Expansion interviews (BRE), and 7 have been completed. These interviews keep us aware of business needs, and when this data is combined, it provides comprehensive reports. The results show overall how the economy is doing, a business perspective of our strengths and weaknesses, provides insight into services, activities, and assistance the business community needs.
I have meet with several companies, some potential expansions, and some potential new businesses. Many of these meetings included tours to people from outside our area. Some businesses request connections, and I have connected a prospect with an established local businesses. Being able to show others what we have to offer is one of the favorite aspects of my job. Most people are honestly impressed with the level of activity here, and the quality of place we have to offer. I have also met with some local people about potential start-ups.
We are implementing our 2014 Marketing Plan strategies, including building new website. The website will allow us to serve our existing businesses better by giving them tools available on our website, better showcase our members to give them more impact, increase the level of organized data, and just overall marketing our communities. We already list available sites, buildings, and jobs on our existing site, and these tools will become more organized. Overall our website is going to be more functional and meet today’s standards. We are also implementing a video marketing campaign in the next couple of months.
In March, YCDC coordinated the first Tri-County Job Fair and Career Day. The many partners included my counterparts in Seward and Fillmore Counties, York College, Henderson, York and Seward chambers, the Nebraska Department of Labor and 7 area high schools. 52 businesses participated and over 200 job seekers attended. I have since heard positive feedback from businesses who are conducting interviews from connections made that day. This event was a result of our 2013 BRE interviews where businesses indicated it was difficult to find skilled labor. A shortage of skilled workforce is a national trend, resulting in many economic development organizations becoming involved in workforce attraction and development. Due to low unemployment for York County, we need to recruit people to our area. A heavy marketing outside of our area for the Job Fair was a first step in this effort.
As always, you are welcome to stop in and visit with me. My offices are co-located with the York Area Chamber of Commerce, York Community Foundation, and the York County Visitors Bureau.