LIMA — The region’s economy has a potential for growth in terms of job creation and demand for skilled workers, but finding those workers could prove more challenging.
That was the message from David Beurle, CEO of consulting firm Future iQ, who has been working with the Allen County Office of Economic Adjustment on a grant-funded project meant to help enhance workforce development and networking with industries in the region.
“The good news is we’re looking at a demand for more workers and more jobs being created, and most of the modeling suggests that’s going to continue,” Beurle said at the conclusion of a Task Force LIMA meeting Monday. “The challenge is how do we fill those worker positions, and where do those workers come from?”
To find an answer to these questions, the OEA and the Allen Economic Development Group are conducting a series of focus groups with key stakeholders in the region. The first focus group was held Monday during the Task Force meeting, with more being conducted throughout the week. Monday’s focus group centered around the defense manufacturing sector.
Beurle said it was important to hear from defense officials because facilities such as the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center, which produces tanks and other defense materials, are “significant economic drivers.”
“This plant [JSMC] is an iconic facility of national and international significance because the products are produced here and distributed to the U.S. military and allies around the world,” he said. “This is a chance for this community to really be proud of what’s here, but also make this facility drive innovation in this region.”
Focus groups for economic development officials, nonprofits, local government, businesses, education institutions and young professionals will be conducted throughout the week.
Reach John Bush at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @bush_lima.