Executive Director May 2018 Update

AREA News, News - 05.22.18

McCook Economic Development Corporation May 2018 Update

By Andy Long

One of my goals as I start my new position as the McCook Economic Development Corporation Executive Director is to be in constant communication with the community. One effort to do this will be a monthly article that comes out the week after our board of directors meets. This is the inaugural monthly article.

I think it is important for you to understand my background as that will play a role in how I approach this job. After I grew up in Grant with my dad being a third generation funeral director, I went to college to study education, taught and coached in Big Springs and Cozad for six years, was a training manager for the Gallup Polls for two years, and have worked in rural community colleges in student affairs for the last ten years.

Based on this experience, I’m a strong believer in improving human capital. Human capital is defined as, “the collective skills, knowledge, or other intangible assets of individuals that can be used to create economic value for the individuals, their employers, or their community.”

During my time at McCook Community College, I’ve met with many local businesses that have open positions they can’t find skilled workers to fill. Our medical facilities are always recruiting medical professionals, our manufacturing facilities continue to look for employees with the right background, and almost every community in Southwest Nebraska has a shortage of individuals in the skilled trades to provide construction, plumbing, HVAC, auto mechanic and other technical skills.

We plan to work with local businesses to help them fill open positions. This can be done by connecting our high school and college students with our local employers to understand the opportunities available locally. This can be done by reconnecting with people who were originally from the McCook area who would return if the opportunity was right. This can be done by providing housing that people looking to relocate for a job want to buy. This can be done by improving our on-line presence to prospective employees from outside our area. This can be done by helping local individuals improve their knowledge and skills to step up into new careers.

This is just one aspect of what we do at the MEDC. We hope to get your thoughts on how we can continue to meet our mission – to facilitate the formation, retention, attraction, and expansion of businesses in McCook and the surrounding area. I’m going to be spending a lot of time in the next couple months reaching out to you to get your feedback. If you would like to set up a time to talk, please call me at 308-345-1200 or e-mail me at andy@mccookne.org.

In the monthly article, we also want to give you updates on MEDC projects:

Business Recruitment: The loss of JCPenny did leave a hole in our retail area. There is a committee that has gone through training and now is working on identifying retail businesses that are a good fit for our community and how to attract them to open in McCook.

Entrepreneurship: MEDC plans to work with McCook Community College to host the Hormel Entrepreneurship Program again this fall. Thanks to a grant from the McCook Community Foundation Fund and the Nebraska Community Foundation Fund, this program will be expanded to provide entrepreneurship education and opportunities for the area’s youth.

Housing: Quillan Courts and Clary Village are both full with an extensive waiting list.

Keystone: There is some prime space available in the Keystone as the space in the first floor at the corner of Norris and D is open. We also have other office spaces available primarily intended for start-up and growth businesses. Contact us if you would like to take a look.

Once again, I would encourage you to reach out to us at 308-345-1200 or andy@mccookne.org so we can get your feedback as we continue to facilitate the formation, retention, attraction, and expansion of businesses.