Lakeshore News Tonight

Michigan City Promotes Business Plan

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Last summer … Michigan City was listed as number-5 among U.S. Metropolitan Areas losing the most jobs since 2009 by the website 24-7-wallstreet.com.  But city officials say the outlook is improving … and the Lakeshore’s Sarah Holst reports a new plan is developing, designed to bring more jobs back to the area…..

 
Mayor Ron Meer: Many in the community have been having conversations for some time because we have lost a lot of our industrial base, on what Michigan City needs to do to adapt.

The Economic Development Corporation of Michigan City, or E-D-C, has unveiled a comprehensive long – term action initiative to create new economic opportunities within the city. Michigan City Mayor Ron Meer is a member of the E-D-C board of directors.

Meer: This action plan is going to address various issues, what we need, what direction to go in, who wants to invest in our community?

The plan features five goals … beginning with workforce development. E-D-C Executive Director Kevin Keift says identifying the skills needed begins by including educators and business leaders in the conversation.

Kevin Kieft: We want the companies to tell us what type of skills do you want workers to have, what should we teach high schoolers or people who need retraining. So those are the things we’re going to identify and take responsibility for making sure they happen.

While attracting new businesses will be emphasized … the plan also focuses on retention and expansion of the city’s current employers.

Kieft: Eighty percent of new jobs come from existing businesses. So we have to take care of who’s here and that’s part of this plan.

Dean Uminski of the consulting firm Crowe Horwath is also working with the city. Uminski says in his experience as a site selection consultant…. quality of life can be almost as important as financial incentives when a company decides to relocate.

Dean Uminski: They want to make sure there’s good schools, and it’s a place they want to bring their families, and it’s where they’ll spend most of their time outside work, so they want to make sure the quality of life is worth while to move a company.

The final goal … organizational sustainability … is focused on maintaining and updating the plan as the economy changes.

Uminski:  Each of our goals will have a separate task force consisting of board members and stakeholders from educational leaders to business leaders to civic leaders. It’s not just a plan we’re gonna develop and put on a bookshelf, it’s gonna be implemented, executed, and monitored.

Mayor Ron Meer:– Definitely, we’re working hard here in Michigan City to set an atmosphere for investment.

Sarah Holst, Lakeshore News

 

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