GREENVILE – Business and community leaders, manufacturers and schools have been building partnerships over the past few years to bring and retain jobs in Darke County and to encourage an emerging workforce with an emphasis on workforce development. On Wednesday, Partnering for Progress (P4P) held its Fall Mixer so all of these partners and future partners could come together to hear positive economic news in Darke County.
Jenni Hanna, the new Plant Lead at the Greenville KitchenAid Facility, was introduced. Hanna said, “I’m from a small town, Tiffin, Ohio. When people ask do you like Greenville, I immediately say yes, because it reminds of where I grew up. I feel like I came home in a lot of ways.” Hanna has been with Whirlpool for 27 years and got her start on the assembly line. “I’m very passionate about making sure they have opportunities for every graduating person to not only go to college, but have a career.” She said she has served in many different positions, including supervisor, engineer, and HR. She’s been at the Finlay, Marion and Ottawa facilities before coming to Greenville.
Matt Steyer, of YOLO, addressed the partners about their investment into communities. “Today, we are standing here very close to our first project and that is an investment in downtown. It is an over $800,000 investment into downtown,” said Steyer. He was referring to the urban park being established at the corner of Martin and South Broadway. “It will be a great place to gather on a Friday night or bring family to. It will be a gateway to this city as you come in,” he added. He said this park matters because it is a piece of what brings people to live in a community. “It isn’t a solution, it’s just a piece just as the schools are a piece, the Wayne HealthCare expansion is a piece and the Darke County Center for the Arts are a piece,” Steyer said. He encouraged those in attendance who want to see things in the community continue to improve to support the park by helping fund the remaining 20 percent of what is needed.
Tamala Marley, workforce development director, shared the many things her department is doing including the emerging workforce concert held at Eldora where seniors from seven local schools attended with over 100 employers represented. That same week they held Manufacturing Day for sophomores. Local manufacturers hosted 650 students. Job Shadow Week will be held next week for local juniors. Marley said she has been able to place 180 students at 38 Darke County employers in 75 different positions.
Economic Development Director Mike Bowers said, “We are fortunate to have a strong manufacturing base. Some of the projects that have come together this year – Midmark just did their ground breaking for a technology center in Versailles. That’s a $42 million investment in the community. Spartech is going to reactivate the Jaysville-St. Johns property and that’s going to be an additional 25 jobs. One Energy and KitchenAid have put in the wind turbines and that has been a nice addition to the community. BASF is still in the middle of a $30 million upgrade to their existing facility. And look at what Wayne HealthCare is looking at doing with another addition to their campus. When you look at those things – its pieces of what makes this community great.”
PHOTO CAPTION: Jenni Hanna, Greenville KitchenAid Plant Lead, speaks to business, school and community leaders at the Partnering for Progress Fall Mixer.