From the Desk of the Executive Director, Winter 2019-2020

From the Desk of the Executive Director, Winter 2019-2020

As we embrace the winter season and closeout a successful year at the SOD Center, we anticipate a new year with new growth and possibilities for The SOD Center, the City of Salem and surrounding areas.  I would like to take the opportunity to thank the SOD Center Board of Directors, City of Salem, local businesses, organizations, local and regional partners, volunteers and staff for your support of the SOD Center and support of economic growth for Salem and surrounding areas.

Focused on providing high-quality workforce training, developing relationships with local businesses, organizations, county and regional economic development partners, and promoting the SOD organization all made for a very busy and productive 2019.

I would like to share a few 2019 SOD Center highlights:

  • November 1st marked the one year anniversary of the SOD Training Center.  The training center has trained 716    individuals, provided training to 65+ companies, held 2 job fairs with 227 attending and 25 companies participating, and added 148 online/On Demand training options.  We are very pleased to have met the measurable goals of the Regional Job Training Grant 1 year early
  • Assisted a local manufacturer with a multi-million dollar expansion creating 24 new jobs over the next 3 years by connecting them to Salem’s CRA incentive and a training grant provided by Team NEO and JobsOhio
  • Identified priority development and redevelopment sites
  • Continued partnership with SBDC and celebrated the opening of Amorette Farms, a SOD startup success story
  • Expanding relationship with County Economic Development and Port Authority. Co-hosted 2 job fairs at the SOD Training Center, engaged in potential site development, and joined together with the Youngstown Regional Chamber and the Ashtabula Growth Partnership to form the “Lake to River” partnership
  • Continued promotion of the SOD Center by establishing a more active social media presence, distributing the 1st SOD newsletter, and continued updates on the SOD website
  • Welcomed new SOD Center members.
  • Began development of an Economic Development Plan for the City of Salem

As we reflect on 2019 accomplishments, we are focused and prepared for a successful new year celebrating a decade of service to the Salem Community.  In 2020 the SOD Center will complete the Economic Development Plan for the City of Salem and the SOD Center.  The training center will continue to grow adding new classes and workshops.  We will continue our mission to support business attraction, retention, expansion, entrepreneurship, infrastructure, quality of life and workforce development by connecting and collaborating with regional, state and national resources.

It has been a pleasure to serve as the Executive Director of the SOD Center and I look forward to celebrating our 10th Anniversary in 2020 and continuing to GROW Salem. 

I wish you and your families a Safe Happy Holiday Season and a successful prosperous New Year.

Best Wishes,
Julie L Needs
Executive Director

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"We support all businesses, small and large, to attract, retain, expand and develop. We help build entrepreneurship, provide training facilities and connect you with the right resources – while collaborating with regional, state and national resources. We are all Growing in Salem." - Julie Needs, Executive Director, SOD Center