2018-03-10 / Front Page

Multiple strategies to boost local economy

Two ongoing efforts to build the local economy were spelled out at last week’s meeting of the Potter County Commissioners.

One is the formation of a six-county brainstorming group charged with not only attracting new employers, but also addressing a deepening dilemma -- hundreds of local jobs across the region remaining unfilled while droves of adults are unemployed.

The other involves a career mentoring program in local high schools.

Commissioner Susan Kefover reported on her attendance at a regional summit in St. Marys. A Pittsburgh consulting firm, Fourth Economy, has been retained to address the employment gap in Potter, Cameron, McKean, Elk, Clearfield and Jefferson counties.

She said a plan will emerge from the process that includes strategies for attracting employers and other people to the region, which has experienced a 13,000 population drop since the 2000 census. Potter County’s has lost roughly 840, or five percent of its population.

A separate element will address the challenges of filling jobs, ranging from changes in employers’ operations and expectations, to partnerships between schools, businesses and government agencies to better prepare residents for local jobs.

Meanwhile, Commissioner Paul Heimel reported on his participation in the launch of the latest Leadership Potter County class. Among agenda items during the opening session was a report on the career mentoring being spearheaded by the Potter County Education Council (PCEC) in local high schools.

Bob Wicker, retired school superintendent from Oswayo Valley, has been spearheading the mentoring program. Each school district has a mentor who works with guidance counselors and directly with students to prepare them for local employment through their choices of college, technical training or other options.

Commissioner Doug Morley, a long-time advocate of PCEC, said the career mentoring program is another example of the council’s service to the community, which now includes a local campus for the new Northern Pennsylvania Rural College.

He noted that a technical training element will be added to the new college’s offerings later this year.

In other business, the commissioners:

• renewed an agreement with the Women’s Residential Recovery Center in the former Northern Tier Children’s Home. Potter County pays $70 per day for women court-ordered to the facility.

• approved a $2,778 liquid fuels tax revenue request from Ulysses Township.

• renewed a lease with Terry Jacobson/ Knoxtowne for the magisterial district judge office in Galeton.

• approved a contract with Priscilla Watson for archival preservation records management in the Register and Recorder’s office.

• approved a request from director of elections Sandra Lewis to hire Donna Sallade to fill a part-time secretary vacancy in her office.

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