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Amy-DonahoeBy guest columnist, 
Amy Donahoe
Director of Hiring & Employer Services
Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce

Over fifty businesses in Clark County and the surrounding area are preparing for the upcoming Greater Springfield Regional Job Fair at Clark State’s Hollenbeck Bayley Center. A wide variety of companies, as well as employment opportunities, will be represented at the event on Thursday, May 21, from 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM.

2015 marks the fifth consecutive year the Chamber of Greater Springfield has partnered with OhioMeansJobs Clark County to organize and host a hiring event in Springfield. Partnerships such as this are key to putting together successful events. Each organization brings their own strengths and relationships to the process which results in an event that benefits both job seekers, and area businesses.

Large hiring events save employers and job seekers both time and resources by allowing for a multitude of connections in one place. Not only do employers connect with potential job candidates, but hiring events allow employers to connect with each other. Given everyone’s busy schedules, this is something that is often hard to find time to do. In past job fairs we have had employers connect and partner on shipping routes, skill sets of part time employees and best practices for their business or organization.

With unemployment numbers for our region at record lows, the Job Fair has required a great deal of creativity in marketing to potential job seekers. Our team has shared the opportunities with Clark County residents, as well as the surrounding counties. We have even visited schools to discuss job search techniques with graduating seniors. Not only are we working to attract the unemployed and under-employed adults to this event, but we also find it important to tap into the younger workforce at area colleges, universities and high schools.

OhioMeansJobs Clark County is also offering assistance to anyone who needs help updating their resume, as well as skills overview sessions designed to assist job seekers in getting – and keeping – that perfect job. So often we find that job seekers and even current employees “don’t know what they don’t know.” Offering a little help and instruction along the way can help job seekers be more successful on their career path. This is not only true for those new to the workforce, but also those who have held long-term employment, and have not had a reason to conduct a job search. Job seekers re-entering the workforce are realizing that a lot has changed in the past ten years!

Open positions at the Job Fair range from Surgical Technologists and Certified Forklift Operators, to Electrical Assembly and State Tested Nursing Assistants. From entry-level to skilled professionals there’s something for everyone. So, if you are looking for a new opportunity – or know someone who is – pass this information along and plan to join us at the Greater Springfield Regional Job Fair!

Chris HeadshotBy guest columnist, 
Chris Schutte
Director of Marketing and Events
Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce

Since 1998 the Center City Association has focused on the revitalization of downtown Springfield by promoting downtown businesses and events, preserving and improving downtown amenities and advocating for downtown development. Fittingly their Annual Meeting held on May 7th embraced an opportunity to look back on the past, examine present circumstances and provide a glimpse into the future.

Roger Sherrock, Executive Director of the Heritage Center Museum, began by reminding the audience that collaboration has been the key to Springfield’s economic development for decades. He quoted from a 1975 Springfield News-Sun article that detailed the challenges surrounding downtown core development, while also noting that cooperation between the City of Springfield and Clark County proved key to overcoming these challenges.

Sometimes, as Sherrock noted, “the road to progress was bumpy.” Yet for each story chronicling the challenges encountered, there was another recounting how partnership paved the way for progress. His message in short was that past is essentially prologue – collaboration among public entities, civic leaders and private investors remains the key to economic development success.

While discussing downtown Springfield’s current status, Mayor Warren Copeland began by reminding the assembled audience of the “miraculous achievements” and transformation that downtown has experienced in spite of some very difficult economic times. The Mayor pointed to some $400 million investedin recent downtown development projects including:

  • Springfield Regional Medical Center
  • Clark State’s Hollenbeck Bayley Creative Arts & Conference Center
  • Ohio Valley Surgical Hospital
  • The historic Bushnell Building
  • National Road Commons
  • NTPRD Chiller Ice Arena
  • The Buck Creek Whitewater project

The Mayor urged attendees to be proud of these accomplishments, while also being mindful that the process of moving our community forward requires social vigilance and cooperation on all levels.

Horton Hobbs, Vice-President of Economic Development for The Chamber of Greater Springfield, followed Mayor Copeland and opened by saying, “Hindsight is 20/20 – and we have made tremendous progress! However this progress has not improved city budgets or grown our population.”

In response to those who may believe that Springfield’s economic development efforts have plateaued, Hobbs believes that downtown Springfield is ready for its next wave. He further stated that, “We must make bold moves, take mitigated risks, and do something so transformational that it will change our trajectory.”

Hobbs stressed the importance of a master plan not only for downtown, but for the corridors that serve as the gateway to downtown. He believes that such a plan must be strategic, informed by reality and audacious. In closing he quoted the famous architect and urban planner, Daniel Burnham, who said, “Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood pressure.”

Center City Association’s Executive Director, Bill Harless, followed the three speakers, and began by acknowledging the efforts of the CCA Board of Directors, particularly outgoing president, Steven McCready. Harless noted that, “The continued improvement of downtown Springfield will be the result of team work. Center City Association, the Chamber of Greater Springfield, the City and civic leaders must come together and “row” in the same direction.”

Harless challenged attendees to think bigger than the geographic downtown core. “We must pay attention to how the south connects to downtown as well as north, east and west,” he said. “We must review and repurpose our current assets to create environments that are beneficial to Springfield in general, and downtown specifically.”

mcdorman2008Mike McDorman, President & CEO
     Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce

 

For 27 years the Springfield Rotary Club has honored teachers in Clark County. This year was no different with their annual Excellence in Teaching Awards Program presented at a recent luncheon at the Hollenbeck Bayley Center in Springfield.

The event, which was emceed by longstanding Rotarian Ed Leventhal, honored four area teachers for the excellence they bring everyday to their schools and classrooms. The teachers recognized included Dan Cummings from Catholic Central High School, Donna Hetrick and Pam LeMay from Northwestern Schools, and Brenda Vinson from Shawnee High School.

Cummings has taught for 16 years and currently teaches high school English at Catholic Central. He received his master’s in English Literature from Middlebury College. He also serves as the Dean of Students. A colleague writes that he teaches English with creativity, energy and passion and challenges students to think at the highest levels. A student nominator says, “Mr. Cummings breadth of knowledge of literature is incredible.”

Hetrick has taught and coached for 30 years and is currently an intervention specialist at Northwestern Junior/Senior High School. She is also the Special Education Department Chair, a District Leadership team member and has coached track and field and eighth-grade volleyball. Her nominator writes that Donna’s students are challenged to do their best and at the same time they are put in a situation to experience success.

LeMay has taught for 31 years and is currently teaching kindergarten in the Northwestern district. She has a graduate degree in pastoral counseling from Anderson University School of Theology. Mrs. LeMay says that she is grateful for the opportunities to be a steward and pass on her passion for education to generations of children and their families.

Vinson has taught for 32 years and currently teaches family and consumer science at Shawnee. She received her master’s in teacher leader and administration from Wright State University. Her nominator says that she is the glue that holds our school together. I have known Mrs. Vinson for longer than we both would like to admit, and I have personally been positively impacted by her family.

Any state-certified, full-time teacher of grades pre-K through 12, who is employed by an accredited school in Clark County, Ohio, is eligible for nomination for one of four $1,000 awards. A student, colleague, administrator or the general public can nominate an eligible teacher.

Each of these award winners are to be commended for the work that they do every day to help our children to aspire to be the best they can be as they pursue their passion in life. Like those who have been honored over the past 27 years, there are many more doing this most important work in our community.

The Springfield Rotary Club Excellence in Teaching Award Program has honored almost 100 teachers since its inception and is sponsored by Columbia Gas of Ohio, the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, the Springfield Foundation, and the Springfield News-Sun. It is a longstanding work in the Springfield area and serves as a model for what can be accomplished in a community that comes together and works for the greater good!

Have a Great Chamber Day!

mcdorman2008Mike McDorman, President & CEO
     Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce

 

Pentaflex Inc. has announced that over the next three years, it plans to expand its current facility at 4981 Gateway Blvd by 20,000 square feet and add 40 new jobs. This project is contingent upon incentive approval of State and Local governing bodies. The private, nonprofit economic development corporation JobsOhio will offer assistance, which will be made public once a final agreement is executed.

“This expansion is the result of rapid business growth in our heavy gauge stamping,” said Pentaflex Inc. President and CEO David Arndt. “The $4 million expansion in Clark County will facilitate our continued growth with a 20,000 square foot expansion and the addition of a large bed, 1600 ton mechanical press line.  The addition will accommodate further assembly operations, inventory storage and anticipated future stamping requirements” said Arndt. “This expansion is a continuation of the investments made in 2014. Combined with the two Aida servo press lines that we installed last year, this project will represent nearly $8 million dollars invested in the company to support our continued strong growth pattern.”

“Naturally as a part of the decision making process on such a major investment other locations were considered, but in light of the vastly improved business climate in the State of Ohio and the responsiveness from our economic development partners at the local, regional and State level it was an easy decision to grow our Springfield location.  Our family has a deep commitment to Clark County, and we look forward to continuing to create job opportunities and develop the local workforce.” Ross McGregor, Pentaflex Executive Vice-President, Owner.

“Pentaflex has been a significant employer in the Greater Springfield community since 1972,” said The Chamber of Greater Springfield President and CEO Mike McDorman. “The Chamber, CIC, City of Springfield, Dayton Development Coalition and JobsOhio worked closely with Pentaflex to help meet their growing needs. We are excited they have chosen to continue to grow their operations in their hometown.”

“Ohio continues to provide attractive benefits to companies that want to expand or relocate,” said Jeff Hoagland, President and CEO of the Dayton Development Coalition.  “And the team in Springfield is expertly aware of how to help business leverage those benefits to grow the economy. We are so pleased to see these new jobs for Springfield and Clark County and we believe this expansion demonstrates continued confidence in the Dayton Region.”

The Generation Gap

mcdorman2008Mike McDorman, President & CEO
     Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce

 

There is a lot of talk about Millennials and baby boomers these days. Each group consists of some 80 million Americans who will play an ever increasing role in whether our communities moves forward or backwards. So it is not surprising that cities are interested in finding out what they want in the places they choose to live.

The Millennials were born between 1982 and 2001 and are characterized as competitive, driven, thoroughly technology-savvy, and more practical than ideological. They are often seen as slightly more optimistic about the future of America than other generations. Having grown up being bombarded by advertising, Millennials tend to be skeptical about promotional material of any kind. Whether buying products and services or considering employment, Millennials are more likely to listen to their friends than to be affected by marketing or public relations material. This characteristic makes both conventional marketing and employee recruitment practices often ineffective for Millennials.

The Baby Boomers were born between 1945 and 1964 and are now empty-nesters, have sold their home in the suburbs and moved into a condominium. Most of their parents retired and stayed in the community where they spent most of their lives. That will not be the case for many of these Baby Boomers. They will take bolder steps and choose to retire differently than their parents and most likely will end up in a tailored retirement community or a downtown where they can walk to restaurants and participate in the local arts and recreational activities available there.

In a recent survey released by the American Planning Association consisting of roughly half Millennials, the other half Baby Boomers, the two groups appear to want many of the same things: better transportation options, walkable communities, technology-enabled cities, and housing that would allow “aging in place.” They believe that the path to prosperity lies in building up local communities – not through recruiting companies but by concentrating on these same basic elements of desirable places to live.

This past Sunday my Pastor spoke about this in his sermon, “The Generation Gap: Myth or Reality?” He explained five significant myths regarding the generation gap:

  • The generations do not have anything in common.
  • The generations cannot communicate with each other.
  • The younger generations are less committed to God and the church.
  • The older generations are more resistant to change.
  • The generations cannot come together in pursuit of a common mission and vision.

He closed with the reality that these generations need each other and must come together in pursuit of a common mission and vision if they are going to meet the challenges and solve the problems that we all face today.

In order for us to be successful as a community, we will need to attract the Millennials and retain the Baby Boomers. That will not only take a great jobs strategy, but the implementation of a community wide master plan that includes key investments in public infrastructure which will make Springfield a more desirable place for both groups to live.

horton-4x5By: Horton H. Hobbs IV, Vice President of Economic Development, The Chamber of Greater Springfield

Spring has finally arrived and with it comes America’s Pastime: Baseball. In many ways, baseball is a great example of the importance of teamwork. Nine players with individual responsibilities must work collectively to remain competitive and to be victors. Not every play is made perfectly and sometimes there are errors made by individuals. But, if all are working together as a team, success is often achieved.

The same can be said about economic development and workforce development. In Clark County, we have a workforce “team” that has been openly working together for many years to make certain that we have all of the bases covered for those looking for jobs and careers. Here is our starting lineup: Our pitching staff is comprised of our local employers. They are consistently delivering the demand for employment and they are helping the team understand what is needed in the workforce and how it can be strengthened. Our Catchers are our Economic Development Partners at the local and regional level that are gathering the workforce needs identified by our employers. First Base is represented by Pre-Kindergarten through twelfth grade Education system. This includes our public, private and alternative schools, the Global Impact STEM Academy, the CareerConnectED Center as well as internship and apprenticeship programs, summer employment and career exploration activities for our youth. Second Base is fielded by our College and Career Readiness partners. Our Region’s 25 nationally recognized Colleges and Universities are preparing future workers, while our partners providing work readiness assessments and industry-specific certificate programs are placing job seekers with employers on a daily basis. Shortstop and Third base are represented by our workforce recruitment and placement entities. From staffing agencies and government organizations to regional job centers and corporate recruiters, job seekers are being connected to employment opportunities in in-demand industries. Our outfielders are the many Community Stakeholder and Resource Providers. From Foundations and public agencies to private donors and regional economic and workforce development partners, they are providing support to the rest of the team.

As in baseball, or any team activity for that matter, challenges can arise that might prevent success. It’s not the challenge itself that can devastate the team, but rather how the team rallies together to overcome it. In Clark County, our team is nimble and has shown time and again that they can and will face workforce challenges and will adapt to a new game plan quickly and effectively. Creating, retaining and attracting a qualified and skilled workforce is our number one economic and workforce development goal. Our team is strong, our bench is deep and our future is very bright.

Chris HeadshotBy guest columnist,
Chris Schutte
Director of Marketing and Events
Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce

 

 During last fall’s Ohio Conference on Tourism held in Springfield, attendees were introduced to our new Greater Springfield brand and our Champion City Guide + Supply store. The new brand and “Find Your Unwind” tagline went on to win the Delegate’s Choice RUBY Award during the conference, and we received an incredible amount of positive feedback on the store.

Fast forward to this year’s Heartland Travel Showcase in Chicago. We were approached by representatives of the Greater Licking County Convention & Visitors Bureau who attended the Ohio Conference on Tourism and visited Champion City Guide + Supply. Impressed by what we had accomplished, they asked if the Greater Springfield CVB would be willing to share some information on our branding process and store development. Naturally we said, “Yes!”

Last week we welcomed a delegation of nine from Licking County including CVB Executive Director, Dan Moder, members of their Board, creative partners, CVB staff and attractions representatives. We began our day at Champion City then moved to the offices of our creative partner, Andy Hayes, at Hucklebuck Design Studio. What a great group of folks – I’ll admit upfront that we learned as much from them as they did from us!

As we rewound through our inspiration and creative process behind the store, then recapped the discovery process that led to our new brand, one theme became abundantly clear; our overriding mission is to alter the perception of Greater Springfield. Like our friends from Newark and Licking County, Springfield and Clark County have taken their share of hits over the years. As the losses pile up it’s sometimes difficult to recall the wins…the positives…the pride.

Our Chamber President & CEO, Mike McDorman, joined us for lunch and expounded on this very topic. Mike feels strongly that we need a vision and a strategy to drive our community forward. The CVB’s role in this process is to project a positive image of our community to both visitors, and residents alike. It’s critical that we position Greater Springfield as a community on the rise, not one mired in the past.

Our CVB has engaged in a number of new initiatives to change the perception of Greater Springfield. One of the most visible is the 48′ LED billboard adjacent to I-70. The LED board was constructed by the Clark County Convention Facilities Authority and is managed by the CVB. The board is a visual, game-changing promotional tool that communicates Greater Springfield’s incredible Arts & Culture amenities to more than 60,000 travelers every day.

On a slightly smaller scale a new SCAT bus wrap project embarked upon by the CVB accomplishes the same perception building goal. We have two “themed” buses on the streets right now – one promoting our Arts amenities, the other representing our great outdoor recreation options. Two more buses promoting our historical architecture and family-friendly sites are on the way this spring.

We recently released our new 2015 “Find Your Unwind” visitor guide to be closely followed by our new state-of-the-art website – VisitGreaterSpringfield.com. We would love to hear your feedback on both of these promotional tools.

As I told our friends from Licking County, our vision for promoting our community will never be limited by our budget. The job is too critical – and the window to succeed so short – that you must embrace every available opportunity. We must do more with less resources. There is simply no other option when you’re working to rewrite history.

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