The Economic Network Alliance (ENA) focused on Workforce and Economic Development at its May meeting.
The Clinton County Workforce Collaborative (CCWC) was formed in 2021 to coordinate many separate, but similar, conversations about workforce challenges into one forum, and to find collaborative solutions to address those challenges. The CCWC’s efforts are currently broken out into three working groups: School & Community Connections, Education & Training, and Barriers to Work. During the presentation at the ENA, speakers shared some initial data from the group’s recent community survey, as well as the background for the survey design.
“Data collection was focused on individuals who either work in Clinton County, or who are seeking employment in Clinton County,” said Ruth Brindle, Clinton County Port Authority representative to the CCWC Steering Committee. “Then, we wanted to briefly explore some of the perceived barriers to work and to validate those perceptions with data to be used in support of tactical solutions to the challenges facing workers in our community.”
The survey, which was a project of the Barriers to Work working group of the CCWC, explored the topics of transportation, childcare, housing, as well as training and skills development, with the goal of helping the working group prioritize its programming.
“It was important to gather information from whole county,” said Dessie Rogers, Executive Director of the Wilmington-Clinton County Chamber of Commerce. “But this is just a start. We will continue gathering more comprehensive data throughout the summer.”
“This first round of data helps to direct our next step,” added Brindle, “which is improve our reach to those who may not have computer access, or may be more comfortable answering questions in person, where the questions can be explained.”
The conversation about the work of the CCWC was introduced as a part of Economic Development Week, recognized each year as the second week in May. The Clinton County Port Authority, the entity charged with leading economic development efforts in the county, works in partnership with a number of organizations in Clinton County on a variety of economic development-related projects and issues, including workforce: the City of Wilmington, the Community Improvement Corporation of Wilmington, the Clinton County Board of Commissioners, the Clinton County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Clinton County Regional Planning Commission, Main Street Wilmington, and the Wilmington-Clinton County Chamber of Commerce.
“Everyone has a hand in Economic Development,” pointed out Dan Evers, Executive Director of the Clinton County Port Authority. “We all make a difference with every encounter we have with potential employees and employers.”
Rogers closed the meeting by encouraging everyone to get involved with the CCWC. “I am incredibly excited about the work of the Collaborative,” she said, “But it’s important to remember that our work is directed by you, the employers in Clinton County.” More information about the CCWC’s multiple projects will be shared in-depth at the Chamber’s Annual Meeting on June 7. Registration information for the luncheon is available on the Chamber’s website.
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