This year’s “Dream Big” theme for the Greater Springfield Community is “Innovation-Transformation Powering Progress!”
As you know, The Chamber’s mission is to help area businesses thrive by advancing important economic and workforce development opportunities, promote ideas that will make our region more progressive, and help our companies grow by connecting them with other businesses and the broader community.
As Mark Lautman, our guest speaker at the Chamber’s Annual Meeting, alluded to this past week, we have more than an uphill battle if we continue to do community development the way we have always done it. We will need to change on a dime if we are going to be successful. We will need to believe we have a significant level of influence over our destiny and take bold steps that will help our community jump the curve to change our trajectory towards a brighter future.
It will take more than another community project for us to change our course. It will take real partnership and collaboration working on a common vision for us to be successful. We will need to dream bigger than we have ever dreamed before!
During this past year, your Chamber crossed over some significant milestones in this community that included the completion of some great new physical assets like PrimeOhio II, a double-sided LED billboard on I 70, and a video scoreboard at Carleton Davidson Field.
The Chamber also worked with key stakeholders to form strategic partnerships that will help inform our community’s jobs strategy as we continue to work hard at growing our existing companies and adding new jobs by luring new office and industrial prospects to invest and locate in Greater Springfield.
By stabilizing our legacy manufacturing jobs and diversifying our jobs base to include higher paying professional level positions in the areas of banking, insurance, Bio Medical, and STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math), we will begin to do what Mark says. We will successfully attract, grow and retain workers, then employers will be forced to follow.
This past year the corporate offices Speedway and Konecranes Region Americas, along with Dole Food Company announced major expansions, adding hundreds of new jobs. Many of these new positions will average more than $50,000 per year.
In order to build on these successes The Chamber is working with our key educational partners to develop the workforce that will be needed to accomplish our jobs goals. Through the $11.3 million Straight-A Grant, Springfield City Schools is working with Clark-Shawnee, Springfield CTC, GISA (Global Impact STEM Academy) and Clark State to develop and implement project-based learning curriculum in specific areas that will connect students to the area’s job opportunities. Most of the consortium’s work will take place at the former South High School, now called Greater Springfield CareerConnectED Center.
My pastor likes to say life is a series of climbs. So what is our next climb as a community? It is to devise, implement and execute a community wide master plan that will bring about the great change and transformation that will propel us forward!
Your Chamber looks forward to standing in the gap and helping to lead the charge up this next hill.
By doing this important work together, our vision of our future will succeed, and so will our community!
Have a great Chamber day!