4-county planning document unveiled

Larry Limpf

A planning document designed to assist economic and workforce development organizations in Huron, Ottawa, Sandusky and Seneca counties is set to be presented to businesses and other groups this summer.
The counties are participating in the 4 County Group 4 Collaborative Growth initiative to develop a strategy for addressing the challenges facing the region’s economy and workforce.
The analysis was funded by a $110,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
The resulting document is based on what is called SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) as well meetings with representatives of the industrial sector, focus groups, an online survey and interviews with key stakeholders.
Poggemeyer Design Group, a Bowling Green consulting firm, conducted the project with the Bowling Green State University Center for Regional Development.
The plan includes eight categories:
- Education/lifelong learning
- Marketing/branding
- Infrastructure/capital resources
- Regional collaboration
- Tourism
- Business/industry activities
- Quality of life
- Legislative action
The project began almost two years ago, said Stephanie Kowal, director of the Ottawa County Department of Job & Family Services.
“The idea is to work with business to make sure we have a really good pipeline of qualified employees and that we have the communication with the schools, both the K-12 schools and the local training centers, so that as folks go into programs they know where the job opportunities are,” she said. “We want to promote that locally along with the quality of life in our area that attracts people and makes them want to stay here.”
One key conclusion of the document is: “Develop, create and maintain a multi-media marketing campaign that will enable the area to sell itself regionally, state-wide, nationally and internationally” and to ‘create a unique identity and sense of community for the four-county region.”
A summary of the planning document was presented last month to local economic development organizations, county commissioners, municipal and township officials, state legislators and educational entities.
A presentation for businesses and other stakeholders will be scheduled for later this summer in each county.
The final document will then be presented to county commissioners for adoption.


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