Business Survey Helps Define Role of Economic Development in Huron County

Huron County’s director of economic development says he was pleasantly surprised by the business community’s response to his survey on business retention and expansion.

Vicki Lass says the fact that they had to conduct the survey during a pandemic has complicated things, but they are pleased that more than 21% of companies responded to the survey and gave them important information .

And this information can be used as the basis for forming their next strategic plan for economic development in Huron County.

“We found that Huron County is made up of a lot of owner-operators, a number of small businesses that really drive our economy. A number of them, in the region of 80%, are one and four employees, with the owner on site,” Lass said.

Lass says they knew labor was a problem, but thought it was a general labor shortage.

What they learned from the survey is that in all sectors there really is a shortage of skilled and semi-skilled workers.

“During COVID, these particular companies really found that not having an HR function made it more complicated. So with all the changes that were happening, openings, closings, restrictions, allowing time to have COVID, everything that was a lot for small businesses to follow,” Lass added.

She summed up by saying that the survey highlighted areas where economic development in Huron County can make a difference.

This includes helping with training or providing equipment or interpreting materials for these small businesses.