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Montgomery County working toward bringing in more businesses

FONDA — Montgomery County’s new Business Advisory Committee which was established in January in an effort to continue the county’s economic success, recently held its first meeting Feb. 26, bringing together key leaders from a variety of industries.

According to a news release, Montgomery County Executive Matt Ossenfort hosted the meeting with the intentions of starting collaborative discussions to foster increased engagement between local stakeholders and county government to advance pro-jobs and pro-economic growth initiatives.

The first meeting included executives from a broad range of industries and major employers such as Hill and Markes and Keymark Corp.; tech companies such as Engines of Creation; and local entrepreneurs, along with staff from the Montgomery County Business Development Center.

“We’ve made great progress growing jobs and creating opportunities,” Ossenfort said. “When I started my first term, everyone talked about the need for jobs. Now everyone talks to me about the need for employees. Launching this Business Advisory Committee is about hearing from our employers about the challenges they’re facing and putting in place initiatives that really meet their needs. Ensuring our employers have an open dialogue with county government helps everyone succeed.”

According to the release, major topics discussed were improving workforce development initiatives and expanding the labor pool for both skilled and unskilled talent, along with possible assistance for employee retention efforts, creating accessible childcare options and establishing access to public transportation.

“Montgomery County is thriving thanks to a strong base of employers that touch a variety of activities, from distribution and manufacturing to web design and more. But our employers are only as strong as their employees, and we want to ensure the county is addressing factors that, for some employees, may be barriers to entry into the workforce,” said MCBDC CEO Ken Rose. “With the feedback from the Business Advisory Committee, we’ll be exploring what resources can be accessed to create beneficial public-private partnerships.”

Prior to its next quarterly meeting, the Business Advisory Committee is working to establish subgroups who will actively explore time sensitive topics such as state resources and other partnerships.

“I’m very pleased with County Executive Ossenfort’s proactive approach to supporting new and long-standing Montgomery County based companies,” said Jason Packer, CEO of Hill and Markes, Inc. “The focus on engaging all types of companies in the area with a variety of workforce development options is timely and critical for business success in the region. I know we as a company will actively engage to help the county be successful with this initiative.”

“The Business Advisory Committee is an opportunity to work with a dynamic group of business members and county leaders to help shape the future of the region,” said Dan La Bate, president of Engines of Creation. “Together our ideas can positively impact the growth of business in Montgomery County and improve the quality of life for all residents.”

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