|Jobs in Van Wert County up for 2013|
|Monday, December 30, 2013 9:00 PM|
BY ED GEBERT
Times Bulletin Editor
VAN WERT — While the state report shows slight improvement, the year-end report from Van Wert County Economic Development Director Cindy Leis shows specific positives in job creation locally.
Leis’ figures, gathered from interviews with Van Wert County’s top 30 employers, show a net increase of 120 new jobs over the past 12 months and 260 jobs over the past 18 months.
“(This) is a start to closing the gap on lost jobs when the economic crisis hit in 2008,” Leis wrote.
Specifically, Braun Industries hired 50 new employees, Toledo Molding & Die added 75 and Unverferth Manufacturing brought in 18. Several other county employers have also added new jobs.
“The accumulated results indicate an upward trend in new jobs for the county,” Leis observed.
While these figures are based only on a specific list of county employers, they give a good indication of how the county is doing economically overall. Jobs added at an employer often causes growth in jobs in related fields.
“For instance, if Van Wert County were to attract 1,000 new jobs to a site such as the mega-site, the impact on the community would be significant, adding an additional 555 jobs in other sectors,” explained Leis.
The local jobs figures are seen to be more accurate than any estimates done at the state or national level. The state releases civilian labor force estimates from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, but those estimates are made from very few calls to Van Wert County. Leis’ figures are pulled from reports from the top 30 employers in the county as well as personal experience with these businesses.
“(The) most important metric to measuring economic development in the county is through new job creation and capital investments, in addition to having business relationships with those existing companies who share major indicators on a regular basis,” Leis shared.
Looking ahead, more jobs in the county are in the works for 2014. In her report, Leis said that Braun plans to hire 20 additional new employees in the first quarter of the year while National Door and Trim is planning on bringing in 30 more new workers; other companies have indicated that new jobs are part of the strategy for 2014.
However, Leis is aware that the biggest news would be bringing new businesses to the county. With many commercial properties and buildings available throughout the county, plus 70 acres remaining to be developed at Vision Industrial Park, there are plenty of possibilities for companies looking to locate here. Leis said she will continue to focus on attracting new business and retaining the firms already in the county.
Also to be accomplished is the completion of the certification process for the 1,600-acre Van Wert Super Site on the city’s northeast side. With the completion of the rail spur that connects the site with the main rail line, two phases of the process to certify the site with the Ohio Job Ready Sites (JRS) program are done.
Leis explained, “Projects such as the mega-site that receive funding from the JRS program must satisfy stringent industry standards in order to receive certification…Having the required Ohio JRS certification ensures future investors that the property meets site-selection standards and includes the necessary attributes demanded by today’s leading corporations. In addition to the Ohio JRS, certification is underway with American Electric Power (AEP), who has initiated a Site Evaluation and Certification Program. To assist with their endeavor, AEP has retained McCallum Sweeney Consulting, a site-selection consulting firm based in Greenville, South Carolina.”
Obtaining certifications from Ohio JRS and from AEP will increase the odds of finding an end user for the site and will further the marketing of the site by partnering AEP, JRS and the Van Wert County Economic Development Office.