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Transformation in progress

August 30, 2012

Transformation—it’s one of today’s buzz words, latched onto by many organizations dealing with myriad pressures, such as global competition, the state of the economy and new technology.

We use the word a lot in economic development. The question to be asked is whether there is strategic action behind it, or whether it is merely used as a marketing tool. Care must be taken as to whether the transformative actions are needed and the proposed outcomes are good.

For the past six years, WEDCO and other organizations have built infrastructure and partnerships that are foundations for change, notably the newly approved Sterling Business Park and Workforce Wayne, Inc. We are thinking and acting strategically as a region through the Pike/Wayne Business Education Partnership, Pike/Wayne Career and Technology Center Taskforce, Hawley Silk Mill project, Pike/Wayne Business Incubator committee and the Northeast PA Bioscience Initiative. An important element of all these activities is that they are being done collaboratively. All have a place in regional transformation.

Taking a collaborative, systematic approach to economic and workforce development activities hasn’t always been done in the past, but it is the future. Technology demands it, competition demands it, lack of resources demands it.

Workforce Wayne provides an excellent model for collaboration with over 100 businesses, educational institutions, community organizations and government entities engaged in strategic action to improve the skills of our labor force. Through its efforts, Wayne and Pike counties boost Community Career and Training Sites within their libraries and have a new technology lab at the Hawley Silk Mill—the first shared learning space for technology training within the two counties. This partnership is also spearheading the Career and Technology Center project, which would integrate curriculum and career development.

WEDCO’s approach to economic development is building the components of an economic ecosystem as a means to spur business attraction, job growth, private investment and regional cooperation. We aim to connect multiple initiatives in the realms of business financing, workforce development, business assistance and infrastructure development into a dynamic system that exponentially increases entrepreneurial support.