As we near the end of the year there are several positive economic indicators that we can all be thankful for. Our unemployment rate has dropped to 5.4%, an all-time low. It has not been this low in over 30 years. For those seeking employment, there is work available. Looking ahead to 2018 there is opportunity to launch entrepreneurship programs. Workforce continues to be an important subject; workforce is the focus of study that we anticipate releasing in January.
There is a great opportunity to develop entrepreneurship programs. There are communities across the U.S. that have started programs that have been successful. There are a handful of communities that have been effective starting sustainable entrepreneurship programs. One such program is based in Flagstaff, Arizona.
The EDC board of directors and staff have identified entrepreneurship as a group that has unmet support needs in our community. We have small businesses that produce; health supplements, automotive instructional training aids, information systems service, and others. To serve these companies in a way that meets their needs and is sustainable we had the opportunity to travel to Arizona to meet with the “Northern Arizona Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology.” This program has a state-wide foot print and provides support for both startup businesses and those businesses that are scalable to become high growth companies. This program serves companies that produce a variety of goods and services. In 2018 EDC will be researching the feasibility of launching programs that serve our entrepreneurs.
We are seeking the input of our membership to learn what other entrepreneurs are in our community. We are focused on those companies that are scalable that have growth potential. If you have input on this please contact Matt Matayoshi at the EDC.
Workforce Demand Study:
TIP Strategies has completed the first draft of the workforce demand study. This is an endeavor that has taken over six months and a number of interviews with businesses and extensive research to complete. There are two outcomes that may be of interest to our membership.
Between 2011 and 2016, the demand for new workers in the region was driven by growth in a few industries, primarily retail; manufacturing; healthcare; and state government.
The projections for job growth over the next five years sees the largest growth in two sectors. Some of the largest gains in jobs are estimated to be in Health Care and Manufacturing Industries.
Middle skills high demand new jobs with the highest percentage of need fall into the categories of Medical Assistants, First-Line Supervisors, Office & Admin Support, and Billing and posting clerks. The need for new workers due to retirement is growing over the next 10 years, but not immediate for these occupations.
We look forward to engaging employers and educators to address workforce and the needs of industries continue to grow with our growing economic success.
We anticipate that that the study will be available for review sometime after the first of the year.
Business in Lewis County is booming as companies have been calling us looking to expand their operations. We have fielded several calls from our local companies looking for space to grow. We have worked to connect companies with potential landlords and when there is not a good fit we try to find them a better one. Supply is tight so if you have a building less than 10,000 sq. ft. we would love to know about it so we can let companies know. Please contact Benjamin Baria if you are aware of available space.
Shelton Structures has been in the family for 3 generations. They manufacture laminated roof decking and glulam beams that are sold throughout the US & Canada. Locally their product can be seen in the ceiling of the Great Wolf Lodge & Cabela’s, though a full 80% of their sales occur east of the Mississippi. Several years ago, Shelton Structures chose to locate in our area for several reasons. First, they wanted to be close to the source of their product, in this case timber. They work very closely with local lumber companies, such as Cascade Hardwoods. The second biggest reason is our location as a backhaul that trucks love coming to. Lastly, but not least is that we also present a strong community with good schools that makes a person want to spend their whole lives here.