Economic Summit Process Focusing on Key Development Issues
Progress continues following the Champaign County Economic Summit held in April. At the meeting, industry, small business, government, education, agriculture and other community leaders identified key issues related to local economic development.
This summer, several Economic Summit participants who expressed interest in staying involved in the process met to narrow down which of these issues to address first.
Recruiting a Skilled Workforce
A major concern brought forward from the April meeting is employers’ difficulty in recruiting candidates for skilled positions. A related problem is attracting qualified people from urban areas to move or commute to Champaign County.
A couple of strategies for addressing these problems are being explored. The group this summer discussed forming partnerships between businesses and schools at the middle, secondary and post-secondary levels. This would enable businesses to inform school administrators, educators and students about local career opportunities and help them prepare accordingly.
Through such partnerships mentoring and internship opportunities could be developed to further prepare students for life after graduation.
Efforts have also begun to re-establish a local manufacturing council through which local manufacturers can share their challenges and work together to find solutions, such as addressing workforce needs.
Developing a Community Vision
Another targeted issue is creating a common community vision that can be used to effectively and efficiently plan and implement local economic development initiatives. The first step is determining the process for developing the community vision.
Improving Technology Infrastructure
A third focus is examining current needs for technology infrastructure and what will be needed to grow existing business and attract new business to Champaign County.
If you’re interested in being involved in any of these initiatives, please contact the Community Improvement Corporation of Champaign County at firstname.lastname@example.org