Spring has finally sprung! The cold and snowy winter was certainly not a time of hibernation at the SOD Center. Activity in the City of Salem and at the SOD Center carried the momentum from 2018 into 2019 and never slowed down. The SOD Center identified four economic development focus areas for 2019: Workforce & Education, Business Development & Entrepreneurial Support, Business Retention & Expansion, and Downtown Revitalization.
Workforce & Education The SOD Center began 2019 collaborating with The Columbiana County Port Authority and Columbiana County Economic Development to hold two job fairs in the SOD Training Facility. Seventeen Columbiana County businesses participated in the two events and 238 job seekers attended. The two job fairs assisted 20 seekers in securing employment. Due to the high volume response, the team is considering additional job fairs later in 2019.
The SOD Training Center continues to grow and add classes and workshops based on the needs of local employers and workforce. Classes in Health & Safety, Workplace Improvement, Supervisory & Leadership Development, Professional and Personal Development, and Technical Skills are offered. Since opening our doors in November 2018, we have trained and assisted 460 individuals with over 1100 contact hours in workforce development. The Training Center will continue to evolve with some very exciting class offerings coming summer and fall of 2019. Please stay tuned and check sodcenter.com for announcements.
Business Development & Entrepreneurial Support The SOD Center is working on a data base of priority sites and properties prime for development and redevelopment. These sites include existing buildings and vacant land. Being prepared for businesses looking for a new or to expand is a key component for economic growth. Our partnership and collaboration with the SBDC continues to be a valuable resource for entrepreneurs. The SBDC offers assistance to startup and existing businesses.
Downtown Revitalization The SOD Center continues working with our affiliate Downtown Salem Partnership, Town Center Associates, and The City of Salem Zoning Department on downtown revitalization projects to increase the vibrancy of our downtown. We are currently working with the SBDC on a small business program focused on the retail sector and specifically in the downtown. Please follow us on Facebook for updates and announcements.
Business Retention & Expansion Our existing businesses are the heart of our City. SOD offers support to existing businesses through our Business Retention & Expansion program. Several companies are currently working with SOD on potential expansion and growth opportunities. If your company is considering a future expansion, please contact The SOD Center today to learn about the many resources available.
Onward and Upward! The first quarter of 2019 ended with wonderful news from Site Selection Magazine. Salem was ranked as one of the top 100 Micropolitans in the United States based on projects. It is a great honor to be among this very impressive group of Micropolitans.
As 2019 moves along quickly, The SOD Center will maintain focus on these four key economic development areas. We will build on our past and current success as we continue to GROW SALEM.
Interested in being a part of the GROWING SALEM TEAM and supporting economic development in Salem? Please visit our membership area for more information.