LIMA — Making Allen County’s economic engine hum is no easy task and in many ways resembles a big, complicated puzzle that, when pieced together, runs as a well-oiled machine.
Some of the pieces of the puzzle were discussed Wednesday at an economic conference to update community leaders, elected officials, and other stakeholders of the events of the past six months in the business world.
Joe Patton of Ohio Means Jobs told the group 195 people have found permanent jobs through the programs he manages. The program started with the help of grant money for two years and is now self-sustaining.
Patton is increasing the number of case managers who help people find jobs from three to six.
There remains more than 1,000 jobs available in a 10 mile radius of Lima, Patton said.
“We have everything from entry level up to the $50,000 to $80,000 range that require a bachelor’s degree,” Patton said.
Jeff Sprague, the president and CEO of the Allen Economic Development Group, said the update is held every six months to update community leaders and the business community on events that have happened, primarily related to workforce development.
There are companies looking to expand and to do so the workforce is a big part of that, he said.
“We have been working with Ohio Means Jobs and Joe Patton to really help companies identify good job candidates and work them through a process to eliminate some of the variables and get good people in the right job at the right time,” Sprague said.
Officials at the meeting also talked about MakerFest scheduled for Oct. 20 and serves as a showcase for area companies to show what they make and how they do it.
Ohio Means Jobs also launched an initiative telling high school children they have a home-field advantage when seeking local jobs. Employers want to hire local people who have roots in the community.
Numerous children from different schools toured local factories and businesses to see the daily operations firsthand.
A lot of emphasis is placed on local high school students who are not going to college. The goal is to have those seniors lining up jobs before graduation and stepping into the jobs after graduation, said Doug Arthur, the program director of Link Lima/Allen County.
Reach Greg Sowinski at 567-242-0464 or on Twitter @Lima_Sowinski.