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  • Pima County’s business alignment bearing fruit

    Mar 08, 2013 | Read More News
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    Despite the persistent economic doldrums that have affected the entire country, Pima County WIBAdministrator Chuck Huckelberry told the Workforce Investment Board Friday that the County’s efforts to support business have been paying off.

    Two dozen companies have either located or expanded in the region over the past 2.5 fiscal years, bringing with them an anticipated4,600 jobs in the coming years, he said, citing statistics released from Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities.

    Pima County has supported that growth in a multitude of ways, from streamlining the development process to financially supporting TREO as the regional economic retention and recruitment arm. But one of the pivotal ways Pima County serves as a resource for business is by helping to pinpoint gaps in workforce needs.

    The Pima County One-Stop Career Center, for example, helped develop training programs for solar installation to address a local shortage of skilled labor. The agency assisted more than 60 automobile shops to ensure mechanics are able to keep up with demands in new hybrid and biodiesel technology. It is working on addressing training needs for machinists and offering matching funds to provide advanced training for employees in technical occupations.

    Huckelberry’s remarks came in conjunction with the release of the Board’s 2011-12 annual report showing 773 businesses hired clients from the Pima County One-Stop Career Center.

    “The things that you are doing are working,”Huckelberry told meeting attendees. “You are an integral part of making this community succeed.”

    Huckelberry also outlined the County’s 2012Economic Development Action Plan.

    After the release of an initial draft in January, the Pima County Board of Supervisors adopted a revised plan in November, informed by 130 comments from the community. The plan places a focus on four primary initiatives: protecting the region’s existing employers, building new opportunities for job growth, revitalizing tourism and creating a positive business climate.

    It is important that Raytheon Missile Systems, as the region’s largest private sector employer, not only remains here, he said,but considers Tucson in case it is forced to consolidate operations as a consequence of federal budget decisions. Meanwhile, he said, an aerospace and defense park would further strengthen the airport environs, which already employs 40,000 workers.Targeted infrastructure improvements, meanwhile, would provide stronger connectivity between emerging employment sectors, he noted.

    The County Administrator also said he hopes the coming year will bring increased regional collaboration as well as a more positive attitude about the region’s strengths.

    To see the Board’s annual report, please visit:
    www.pima.gov/ced/agencies-workforce-investment-board.shtml