Aerozone Alliance will be second location for RTA’s microtransit program

By Kim Palmer

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority selected the Aerozone Alliance — an area near and around the NASA Glenn Research Center and Cleveland Hopkins International Airport — as the next location for a first/last mile, microtransit program connecting Cleveland workers to hard-to-get-to job hubs.

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British startup Blue Abyss aims to train astronauts, divers at unusual Brook Park project

By Michelle Jarboe

A British startup company plans to build a giant training pool in Brook Park, as part of a facility designed to prepare the next generation of space explorers and deep-sea divers.

Brook Park City Council is considering legislation to allow the sale of 12.8 acres of cityowned land north of Cleveland Hopkins International Airport to Blue Abyss, a business focused on helping humans better navigate extreme environments. The legislation, introduced Tuesday, April 4, will be the subject of a detailed presentation to council on Tuesday, April 11.

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Firm selected to operate Cuyahoga County utility, build out microgrids


Cuyahoga County is one crucial step closer to realizing the goal of the outgoing administration to offer a modern electrical grid system providing resilient, non-interrupted power to some of the region’s commercial, industrial and manufacturing businesses.

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NASA launches exploration day to get more students into STEM

By Nadeen Abusada

CLEVELAND, Ohio — NASA Glenn Research Center opened its campus to 200 CMSD high school students for a Career Exploration day to get more students interested in STEM careers.

At NASA, they’re used to launches, but this time, their mission is the next generation.

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Growing STEM: NASA Glenn holds Career Exploration Day to ignite more interest in STEM careers

By Betsy Kling

CLEVELAND, Ohio — “What did you do last summer?”

The answer next school year for 25 talented CMSD students will be: ”I interned at NASA!” That was just one of many opportunities presented during Career Exploration Day at NASA Glenn Research Center, where students got to see the work they are doing in chemistry, physics and math come to life at one of the coolest places to work on earth.

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Strengthening Stark recognizes efforts to improve diversity, bring jobs to community

By Edd Pritchard

CANTON – In the midst of nationwide protests following the death of George Floyd, local business owner Jerry Schroer started making phone calls.

He connected with George Lemon, retired president of Technical Products Group. The pair worked with other area business leaders to create Stark County Community Moving Forward. The organization brought together minority and majority business leaders who have worked toward building diversity, equity and opportunity.

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Lorain County Chamber forms nonprofit to focus on economic development


The Lorain County Chamber of Commerce has formed a new nonprofit organization to become a leader for regional economic development.

The Chamber will return to a mission of economic development through the Lorain County Community Development Corp.

It exists on paper, and this year, will develop with its own funding, president and governing board.

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New website shows Tuscarawas County job openings

By Jon Baker

NEW PHILADELPHIA — Commissioners were briefed Wednesday on a new website that allows job seekers to see all available job listings in Tuscarawas County.

The Tuscarawas Jobs Platform can be found at

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GRO Explores New Possibilities in Carthage

By Wendi Douglas

Carthage Community Foundation applied for a Growth in the Rural Ozarks (GRO) opportunity through Community Foundation of the Ozarks early in 2020. Carthage was selected for the program in the spring and began a community assessment survey to solicit feedback about Carthage from a broad cross-section of the population. The original launch date for GRO Carthage was June but had to be pushed to September due to Covid-19. Thirteen leaders from the City, local businesses, and key organizations were selected to be a part of the GRO Carthage Leadership Team. These core leaders began meeting regularly (primarily via Zoom) on October 1 to review the survey results, map the community’s assets, and begin to identify priorities/projects for the team and community to tackle. Priorities/projects focus on the key areas of communication & connectivity, communal assets, housing, safety & security, and employment & entrepreneurship.
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Strengthening Stark Wins $100,000 Paradox Prize

By Alison Matas, The Canton Repository

Strengthening Stark has its first financial win.

The countywide economic development initiative will receive $100,000 from the Fund for Our Economic Future Paradox Prize, a competitive grant designed to connect workers with reliable transportation.

Strengthening Stark won the money for a pilot program that will help 100 people get and maintain a job for 90 days.

Details about the program — and how to rethink it because of the coronavirus pandemic — are being hashed out, but the goal remains to find people who are ready to work and get them the support they need to keep employment.

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Grand County aims to address workforce challenges with website, new program in schools

By McKenna Harford

Grand County’s economic trends show a positive picture on the surface, but despite low unemployment and high median incomes, the workforce still faces hurdles.

At an economic development forum on Feb. 24, Grand County Economic Development presented a few projects it’s working on to help address some of the challenges, which include recruiting workers, finding them housing and retaining them.

One of the county’s largest workforce issues is the high cost of living. In Grand County, the wages paid by a the majority of available jobs simply don’t allow the workers to live here.

DiAnn Butler, executive director of Grand County Economic Development, said the office hopes to utilize the website,, to better connect employees with housing.

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SARTA targets Massillon, Navarre, Green with new bus routes

SARTA announced this week it is adding express routes in western Stark County and around the Akron-Canton Airport in order to get employees to work before 6 a.m.

CANTON SARTA wants to make it easier for some people to get to work earlier.

The transportation company is adding more loops in the Massillon and Navarre industrial areas and around the Akron-Canton Airport so that employees can get to work for early morning shifts, officials said on Thursday.

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Impact Ohio stops in Stark to talk Strengthening Stark, workforce

BY: Alison Matas

JACKSON TWP. The value of the now-empty Nationwide building in downtown Canton isn’t its 150,000 square feet or the furniture left behind — it’s the potential to fill the space with employees.

So the Stark Economic Development Board is offering to give the building away, if someone will operate a successful business out of it.

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Create Here initiative seeks revamp for 2020

First-year experimental program fails to garner applicant interest


A first-year initiative aimed at bringing entrepreneurs or existing businesses to rural southwest Missouri didn’t pan out as expected.

Organizers of the Create Here program that ran through this summer only received one application to present a business plan. They had hoped for two or three good applicants that could generate a new business in each of the four participating communities: Aurora, Buffalo, Marshfield and Sarcoxie.

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Canton Inc. Magazine Spring 2019


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Firelands Forward workforce development initiative kicks off

he Firelands Partnership launches regional strategic plan

HURON — The Firelands Partnership kicked off the region’s new workforce development initiative, Firelands Forward, on Thursday, May 9, on the BGSU Firelands campus. Members of the partnership and business leaders from across the region gathered to converse on how to proactively blend county lines and grow as a more united economic region.

The Firelands Partnership is a broad coalition of business, education and government leaders in north central Ohio dedicated to advancing economic competitiveness and quality of life in the Firelands region. In collaboration with Erie and Norwalk economic development corporations, the partnership’s goal is to mobilize the community to improve workforce opportunities through the creation of focused programs, tools and resources.

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Strengthening Stark hosts innovation discussion

JACKSON TWP. — Local universities are brainstorming ways they can help Stark County businesses thrive.

Representatives from area schools gathered Friday at Kent State University at Stark for continued discussion about how they can promote innovation and connect businesses to university programs and resources, which business leaders might not know exist.

By the end of their time together, they’d settled on three potential projects to pursue.

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Money, time follow good strategic plans

Our View: Encouraging signs as follow-up report to ‘Strengthening Stark’ advances collaboration

When John McKay coached the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the mid-to-late 1970s, he often talked about his “five-year plan.” When a sportswriter finally asked him, “Why a five-year plan?” McKay, known for his quick wit, replied: “Because I have a five-year contract. If I had a three-year contract, I’d have a three-year plan.”

He was kidding, but only a little — his words reflecting human nature and self-preservation.

Similar thinking often prevails in business and government. Leaders without vision make a plan to fit the revenue rather than finding the revenue to execute the right plan. Or they make a plan to fit a prescribed timeline when the timeline should be designed around a good plan.
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Plan set to improve quality of life in Stark

BY: Alison Matas

A year ago, a data-driven study was released that showed Stark County is getting older, poorer and less-populated.

A team of business, government and nonprofit leaders promised to do something to reverse the trend.

They are.

Since the fall of 2017, a consultant has been hired and conducted more than 230 interviews with educators, elected officials and business executives. A 12-person minority action committee began meeting, as did the presidents of Stark’s colleges and universities. The heads of the chambers of commerce across the county agreed to revive a consortium that will help them work together to offer business webinars. Private organizations and individuals from Northeast Ohio kicked in money to keep the consultant working in Stark County and to hire an additional person dedicated to economic development.

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Formula for economic development: Business, infrastructure, outreach

By Amy L. Knapp

The group is working to determine the hurdles stopping Stark County from realizing its economic potential.

Their work is rooted in the Strengthening Stark report. The report, commissioned by the Stark Community Foundation, grew from a group of leaders from the county’s business, nonprofit and government sectors called the Stark Civic Group.

The group wants to reverse the county’s population loss and to attract more jobs and residents.

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Workforce and Housing Roundtable: Web-Portal Debut

Last week, the Grand County Economic Development department held a roundtable discussion and sneak peek at a new website made possible by funds received from Freeport McMoran and Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) Rural Economic Development initiative (REDI).

Diane Butler, Grand County Economic Development Coordinator, and a team of community stakeholders have worked nearly two years on the workforce and housing challenges in Grand County. The team engaged a consultant to help facilitate and develop an integrated workforce and housing platform for attracting and retaining a sustainable workforce. One of the solutions identified was “low hanging fruit” according to Butler, create a website portal to connect our potential employees and employers in a way that can help bridge a communicative gap in life and work, a web-portal that can serve as a central location for available job positions, a shared workforce program, housing needs, volunteer opportunities, child care options, higher education opportunities and much more. Butler said, ”This process has been enlightening. The collaborative effort has been magical at times.”
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Brower: Community is solution at workforce and housing symposium

Patrick Brower
Grand Enterprise Initiative
It was a revelation about the power of community and communication.

Last Wednesday Grand County Economic Development hosted a Workforce and Housing Open House at the Headwaters Center in Winter Park. A total of 61 people from across Grand County attended. The event’s goal was to move another step forward in the process of supporting local businesses both big and small in addressing workforce and housing challenges.
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County launches prototype workforce resource, jobs portal

McKenna Harford
Attracting workforce and providing them with affordable housing aren’t unique issues to the Grand County community, but one collaborative project is aiming to provide a local solution.
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Does Stark County really have 7000 open jobs?

Massillon Independent
But even if it was off by 50 percent and Stark only had about 3,500 open jobs, that’s still a healthy number for a community of this size and active labor force, said Hrishue Mahalaha of Innovation Economy Partners, a Cleveland-based firm working with the Stark Development Board. The businesses with …
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GRO Marshfield Internship Program expands to reach more students and businesses

Marshfield, Mo. — A Marshfield program connects high schools students with businesses to create internships.

The GRO Marshfield Internship Program is expanding to reach more students and businesses.

It’s a goal to keep graduates working in the community.

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GRO discusses downtown groundbreaking, trade program and economic development

Community leaders and volunteers held discussions and planning at the Jan. 23 meeting for Growth of the Rural Ozarks, which included dates for construction projects and programs sponsored by GRO.


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Buffalo to be ‘Growth in Rural Ozark’ participant.

Buffalo is one of two Missouri communities selected to participate in the second phase of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks’ Growth in the Rural Ozarks economic development program.

Buffalo, along with Aurora, make up the second round of GRO participants. The two-year initiative is co-funded by local community partners and the Community Foundation of the Ozarks. It is supported by local government, schools and other stakeholders as well as the Dallas County Community Foundation, the CFO affiliate foundation based in Buffalo.


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Construction trades program to bring training, revitalization to county.

Salem High School will soon be home to a new program that has the potential to advance its students, as well as the community around it.

In mid-November, an idea was pitched for a construction trades program to be implemented in the school, a unique experience that would give students hands-on learning for construction, but with the added bonus of improving Salem and Dent County as projects are completed.

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Aurora selected as GRO participant

Aurora is one of two Missouri communities selected to participate in the second phase of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks’ Growth in the Rural Ozarks (GRO) economic development program.

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Grant Launches Economic Project Here (Fostoria)

For more than 100 years, the Fostoria Area Chamber of Commerce has been actively promoting civic progress and business growth in the tri-county area.
In an effort to increase support for area small businesses, the chamber applied for and received a Rural Community Development Initiative Grant through WSOS from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Development.
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Stark Economic Development Board leading ‘business plan’ for county

The Stark Economic Development Board, led by Ray Hexamer, will help guide a plan that will estimate how much the recommended economic development activities will cost and will suggest ways to fund the plan.
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GRO participants present, learn at Cross-Community Meeting

Last Thursday, Sept. 21, several of those involved with the GRO Marshfield initiative joined similar GRO project representatives from Salem and Sarcoxie, along with GRO-Phase 2 representatives from Buffalo and Aurora, at the office of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks in Springfield for their first GRO Cross-Community Meeting.
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Editorial: Week in Review, Sept. 30

Capping a series of public meetings over the past few weeks with a decision many Jackson Township residents wanted to hear, the Stark District Library Board said Wednesday it would follow its original plan to construct a new library building in the township.
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Stark Port Authority paying for development plan

The Stark County Port Authority on Thursday approved a $150,000 grant that will pay for an estimated nine months of consulting for the creation of a countywide economic development plan. The document, a follow-up to the recently released “Strengthening Stark” report, will offer strategies for growing the economy and will be coordinated through the Stark Economic Development Board.

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NPR Radio Interview: CFO/USDA Economic Development Grant Supports Growth In The Rural Ozarks

In May of 2016, The Community Foundation of the Ozarks announced Marshfield, Salem, and Sarcoxie, as the first 3 Missouri communities to receive CFO’s first ever Economic Development Grants, through the Growth in the Rural Ozarks, grand program. GRO, as it is known, is designed to promote job creation, entrepreneurship, and economic and workforce development in rural communities. Growth in the Rural Ozarks is Co-Funded by CFO and USDA Rural Development, and over the 3 year course of the program, each city will receive around $100,000.


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Making a Difference: Stories of Hope and Help focuses on GRO intiative

The latest segment in our “Making a Difference: Stories of Hope and Help” series with KSMU’s Mike Smith is this super-sized edition about our Growth in the Rural Ozarks economic development program. It’s a conversation between our president, Brian Fogle, and Hrishue Mahalaha of Innovation Economy Partners, who facilitates GRO in the program towns of Sarcoxie, Salem and Marshfield.

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GRO lays framework for progress in Marshfield, Salem, Sarcoxie

This spin on an old adage is something Hrishue Mahalaha, Senior Partner for JumpStart Inc., likes to say when helping groups focus on the most important priorities. It was particularly apt last week, when Mahalaha and Josh Borstein presented a slew of data and research in Sarcoxie, Salem and Marshfield, the three communities participating in the CFO’s inaugural Growth in the Rural Ozarks program.

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Officials, residents discuss economic growth

WELLSVILLE — Several members of the community took time Wednesday afternoon to hear about plans and brainstorm some ideas to bring economic development and potential growth into the village of Wellsville.
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A lot of good happened in 2016 despite a unique year

By now it’s something of a cultural consensus that this has been a bizarre year. An unprecedented number of high-profile deaths, violence and unrest around much of the world and America’s own contentious election (and post-election) cycles have earned 2016 a … certain reputation, to say the least.
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Building a Better Rural Ozarks

“Where is the grass greenest?”
“Where it’s watered.”
This spin on an old adage is something Hrishue Mahalaha, Senior Partner for JumpStart Inc., likes to say when helping groups focus on the most important priorities. It was particularly apt last week, when Mahalaha and Josh Borstein presented a slew of data and research in Sarcoxie, Salem and Marshfield, the three communities participating in the CFO’s inaugural Growth in the Rural Ozarks program.
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Retail’s Real Estate Resistance

Jim Damicis and Alex Tranmer of Camoin Associates, along with their colleague, Hrishue Mahalaha of Innovation Economy Partners, write this month about the evolving retail industry. Shopping malls have ruled the retail real estate market for the last two decades, but changing consumer preferences, technological advances and eCommerce have significant implications on real estate markets …
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Community Foundation of the Ozarks announces Growth in the Rural Ozarks program

The Community Foundation of the Ozarks this week announced the cities of Marshfield, Salem and Sarcoxie as the three Missouri communities to receive its first-ever economic development grant.

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Sarcoxie Receives Portion Of Economic Development Grant

Sarcoxie, Salem, and Marshfield have been chosen to receive more than $300,000 from the USDA and the Community Foundation of the Ozarks. The announcement of the grant money to be used to kick-start economic development was made Tuesday. The firm Jumpstart has been hired to do that. Hrishue Mahalala with Jumpstart tells News Talk KZRG they are going to start working immediately.
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Salem Awarded Economic Development Services

Salem and Dent County officials represented the community Monday during a conference detailing the Growth in the Ozarks grant. Salem is one of three communities in the state chosen to receive the grant. From left, Rural Development State Director Janie Dunning and Salem representatives including Salem Initiative member Alex Sellers, Genie Zakrzewski, Salem R-80 Superintendent John McColloch, Dent County Community Foundation President Dr. Bernie Sirois, Josh Gordon and city administrator Ray Walden.
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