The Hancock County Economic Development Committee has formed three task forces composed of 25 volunteers each.
They are looking for ways to encourage future economic development in the county.
An initial meeting of selected three priorities; job creation, vocational training and entrepreneurship and encouraging residents to shop at local businesses. Each task force will hold an initial meeting in the next few weeks. They will then meet on a quarterly basis.
Committee Chair Jerry Bartell said the panels need to “strike while the iron is hot” to build on the interest created by the recent county-wide economic summit. Bartell is already working to bring business leaders together to find out what they need to expand their businesses.
He also said, “We want to get the business community and the industrial community together with the schools to talk about these things because I'm not sure if there's really been a good exchange of thoughts and ideas. And we want to get that discussion going.”
That could lead to targeted vocational training and job training programs Bartell hopes to keep more young people in the county by offering them opportunities in the job market or assistance to start their own businesses.
Bartell hopes the panels lead the way to a permanent operation.
He said, “To move forward you're going to have to have some kind of structure-an investment group, a board-somebody that oversees this function and possibly even look at having somebody to head it up on a full-time basis.”
He said this is the first time the communities in the county have taken a cooperative approach to improving their economic position.