Workforce, telling our story, key to economic development

NEWARK – Grow Licking County Executive Director Alexis Fitzsimmons has said the county’s tradition of the manufacturing workforce and telling our story is key to future economic development.

Fitzsimmons, named to lead the public-private community improvement company on June 23, spoke on Wednesday during the Licking County Chamber of Commerce’s About Town series at the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel downtown.

Prior to joining GLC, Fitzsimmons was Director of Economic and Business Development for American Municipal Power in Columbus. She graduated from Ashland University, worked for State Farm Insurance in Newark from 2005 to 2008, and also worked for the Ohio Development Department. She graduated from Newark Catholic High School in 1999.

“Most people understand that the role of economic development is to increase jobs and employment opportunities, but it’s more than an employment program,” said Fitzsimmons. “It’s about creating wealth in the community. It’s about improving prosperity for all of its residents. And it’s an intentional effort to do it.”

She said the goal is to make the economic base of the community sustainable and diverse so that it can withstand downtime like recessions and pandemics.

In 2018, the GLC’s goal for 2025 was to add 5,000 new jobs and $ 200 million in new net payrolls, generate $ 750 million in capital investment, and increase median household income from $ 5,000.

Already, the county has created 2,705 new jobs, or more than 50% of the target, nearly $ 1.2 billion in new salaries and $ 3 billion in new investments. The median income from gold fell from $ 59,000 to $ 66,321.

“The efforts of Grow Licking County and all of its partners are moving the needle in the right direction,” said Fitzsimmons. “We focused on the workforce, which is a priority for every employer in this environment, even before the pandemic, as jobs were just hard to fill. The workforce has been one of the most important initiatives for economic development organizations for at least the past six or seven years. “

The main industries in Licking County are manufacturing, transportation and warehousing, as well as health care and social assistance, she said. The average manufacturing salary in Licking County is $ 71,250.

“Manufacturing is the lifeblood of this community,” said Fitzsimmons. “This provides a very stable salary trend and contributes to the resilience and stability of the community. It is no longer dark, dirty and dangerous to work in these industries.”

She said Licking County’s manufacturing tradition has been her strength for many years. It’s important, Fitzsimmons said, to make sure outside developers know the history of Licking County, which GLC will do with workforce videos highlighting education and training programs. in Licking County.

“Sharing the history of Licking County is so important and Grow Licking County has taken it under our umbrella to do so,” said Fitzsimmons. “Each person in this community is responsible for a positive attitude for this community. You never know when someone is coming to town to visit a site.”

She said on Wednesday there had been a site visit to the Heath-Newark-Licking County Port Authority. Outside developers are increasingly interested in the county.

“I’ve spoken to at least a dozen out-of-state developers over the past six months,” Fitzsimmons said. “They notice that Licking County is doing it right and has a reliable and resilient workforce.”

kmallett@newarkadvocate.com

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Twitter: @ kmallett1958