Community economic development roundtable discussions are designed to create a level of dialogue necessary to explore the potential for creating manufacturing, industrial and trade jobs that will impact the lives of the unemployed and underemployed in communities.
Such a roundtable discussion was recently held in Fayette County, Ohio, the second in the past 12 months, aimed at promoting social and economic equity using state, regional and local resources in the forging of new and sustainable communities. The event brought together local stakeholders with state and regional economic development players to address significant community and economic development challenges; with the goal of cultivating a broader collaboration among business, government and civil society communities.
Topics discussed ranged from gas pipeline projects and how the counties can work together for the benefit of the region, to ways to recruit and attract business to the area. Conversation also focused on job creation and retention strategies, workforce and skills development issues, and state policies that undermine local economic development growth.
As Extension professionals, the roles we play in such community conversations can vary depending on the issues and the stages of the educational process. At times we are “conveners” who identify a public issue(s) and key stakeholders, gain their support and cooperation in the educational process, and work with them to design and carry out a process to achieve a mutually satisfying outcome. As “networkers,” we identify and link people and resources to increase people’s knowledge of public issues and their ability to participate in public decision-making. And finally, at times we are “diplomats” who move tactfully between stakeholders to encourage them to work together through an educational process. Ultimately we are educators focused on strengthening individual and family lives through research-based educational programming in collaboration with individuals, families, communities, business and industry, regional and state agencies, for example.
For more information, please view the material posted at pittsburghmovingforward.org or recordherald.com/news/home_top-news/152050297/County-hosts-economic-roundtable.
(Submitted by Godwin Apaliyah, County Extension Educator, Fayette County & Miami Valley EERA; Fayette County Community Development Director)