St. Clair EDC crafting 3-year plan

St. Vicent’s St. Clair and Col. Robert Howard Veterans Home.

St. Clair County Economic Development Council has come to the end of its initial Partnership for Tomorrow plan, hailing the five-year run a tremendous success.

Through the numbers and benchmarks set five years ago as goals, officials seem to be on target with their expectations. In a gathering of CEOs, company presidents and key executives in Moody, EDC Chairman Tommy Bowers said the organization is developing a new plan to keep the momentum going. “We are looking at a three-year plan to move us forward. We think it is a good fit for the future.”

Looking back over the first five years, EDC Executive Director Don Smith has plenty of success stories to tout.

During that time, the EDC, St. Clair County Commission and Jefferson State Community College launched iCADEMY, which gives students in the county’s two school systems the opportunity to earn post secondary certification in manufacturing, welding and nursing while still in high school. The emphasis on workforce development continues through this program.

When the EDC set its plan in motion five years ago, the goal was to reap $150 million in new capital investment in St. Clair County. Today, that figure has topped the $320 million mark.

Payroll was predicted to be $40 million. It’s at $50 million now. Local schools have seen $1.5 million in new tax revenue, and 1,800 new jobs have been created.

St. Vincent’s St. Clair, the Col. Robert Howard Veterans Home, Bass Pro Shops, Shops of Grand River, new industry coming in and existing business and industry expansions have all played roles in the upswing.

Retail growth opportunities look strong, he said.

Smith credited the cooperation of leadership around the county as reason for so many success stories. “We stuck together,” he said. “The success we have had is because we have been able to do that.

“We get along. We may have different ideas, but we work together, and that will always be the basis of what we do moving forward.”

— Article courtesy of Discover St. Clair
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