A Call to Economic Transformation, Says Civic Group
By focusing our collective efforts on job creation, job preparation and job access, we are confident Stark County's best days are ahead. But, we will not see those days unless we take dramatic actions that divert us off our current path. Stark County's trajectory over the last few decades is not one that foreshadows growth & opportunity. Rather, it forecasts that we will get smaller, older and relatively poorer. - Strengthening Stark: A Call for Economic Transformation
The Stark Civic Group of community leaders - c
reated in 2015 at the suggestion of The Repository, Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce, and the Stark Community Foundation - provides an informal forum for organizations to share their strategic plans and assist one another in achieving their respective goals. Last month, under the auspices of the Stark Community Foundation, the group issued a major report. Looking at the hard economic and demographic realities confronting the county in the future, Strengthening Stark: A Call for Economic Transformation calls "for the development and implementation of a bold, aggressive plan to accelerate economic growth and increase access to opportunity in Stark County."
At the core of the report are eight specific recommendations:
- Stark Economic Development Board should coordinate with its partners on the development and implementation of a shared economic plan for Stark County.
- The shared economic plan for Stark County should focus on job creation, job preparation and job access.
- Job creation strategies should focus on helping existing companies within targeted industries achieve their growth potential.
- Support for the Stark Entrepreneurship Alliance should expand and be sustained to increase the number of young, growing companies in Stark.
- Job preparation and economic development initiatives should be integrated.
- Infrastructure improvements and other investments should be targeted to enhance existing job hubs in Stark County (locations where high concentrations of employment exist) and make the jobs more accessible to all residents.
- Stark County should invest more resources into economic development activities.
- All organizations and institutions that care about the future of Stark County need to identify how they will help sustain the long-term implementation of the shared economic plan for our community.
Due to the importance of the report, Looking at the Issues will publish additional follow-up articles.