The county’s workforce development task force and the importance of its work were one of the topics discussed at Tuesday’s Greenfield Village Council meeting.
In his report to council, city manager Todd Wilkin spoke about a recent event he attended where he was a guest panelist, who provided a point of view on the importance of workforce development, bridging the gaps between education and businesses, and breaking the language barriers that exist between them so that students have a much better understanding of not only what careers are out there after school, but also what is right at home.
Earlier this year the village held an industrial roundtable meeting that included local industry and schools from the county. In that meeting, representatives of Building Bridges to Careers (BB2C) talked about their success in building bridges across the gaps between businesses and educational institutions to strengthen the workforce and the opportunities that young people have to draw from when deciding on their career paths.
The organization has since been helping Highland County create its own Business Engagement with Career Awareness group. The county’s task force has regular meetings and all the Highland County schools are involved, as well as Highland County Community Action, the Highland County Chamber of Commerce, the county’s economic development office, Ohio Means Jobs, Southern State Community College, Hillsboro and Greenfield, and it was all started with that meeting with BB2C earlier in the year.
Wilkin previously said this is something that will take time, but the task force is working. He noted that while the task force may not be Greenfield-centric, it will affect Greenfield’s youth and help get kids better opportunities.
On a related matter, council member Amie Ernst spoke briefly about her involvement on a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) project with state Rep. Shane Wilkin (R-Hillsboro) and Dr. Shane Shope that they have all collaborated on since 2019.
Recently, the coding project was awarded a four-year grant and will benefit Highland County and four other counties in the region. It is something, Ernst said, that just “went live” and provides to the schools in the counties the teacher licensing necessary, the computer technology resources, and the “core STEM education” that will help get students on the computer sciences path.
In other meeting business, Jay and Beth Hardy were presented a proclamation honoring the family’s decades of service to Greenfield through Hardy Memorials. While the Hardys are retiring, they have taken steps to ensure the business lives on in the community. Chillicothe Monument will be the new owner of the business and will continue the operations in Greenfield.
The village proclaimed Nov. 3, 2021 as Rebecca Stuckey Appreciation Day. Council members presented a proclamation to her daughters — Kelly, Karla and Kim — at the council meeting. Stuckey, who passed away in September, was a devoted wife and mother and for more than 18 years served the Greenfield community as a finance clerk until her retirement five years ago.
Wilkin reported that Lt. Brian McNeil of the Greenfield Police Department has received the Highland County Officer of the Quarter Award from Highland County Prosecutor Anneka Collins. Wilkin said McNeil is an asset not only to Greenfield, but the county and region as well, and Greenfield is “fortunate” to have him on its police force.
In other matters, there was some discussion regarding Beggar’s Night and the turnout of kids trick or treating this year, which appeared to be well more than in years past. In all, everyone remarked at the success of both the Halloween Parade, held the Tuesday before trick or treating, and Beggar’s Night.
Councilman Eric Borsini remarked on his own childhood experiences of the excitement of donning his costume and the fun of going door to door trick or treating. He said in all his years of being in Greenfield, he has yet to be able to pass out candy from his home because, being a downtown business owner, he is always at his business passing out candy for the village’s Safe Trick or Treat.
While that event is well-liked and well-attended, Borsini noted that there are a lot of people missing the door-to-door aspect of trick or treating. He proposed that perhaps there could be two nights, one for the merchants and one for the community.
Wilkin said with the parade and so many kids already dressed up, maybe the downtown trick or treat could follow the parade, and then Beggar’s Night would see kids descending on neighborhoods throughout the village in a more traditional manner. This way, there wouldn’t be any competition between downtown and neighborhoods and those that love to pass out candy from their homes. He said it’s something he will talk to the Paint Creek EMS/Fire District about since it puts on the parade.
Council questions were asked regarding 311 North St. and a long-awaited demolition of the property. Wilkin said the contractor has had to wait on utility removal, but the demolition is supposed to begin this week.
Another question was asked about the Elliott Hotel and what was happening there. Wilkin said the owner is quit-claiming the property to the village, and the corner will be cleaned up. After that clean-up, what comes next is undecided at this time.
Legislation was passed that allows for the use of coronavirus relief funds to have electrical work done on the building the village bought at the industrial park earlier this year to house the street department. The work will bring the electric at the building up to code and allow for further work to be done with the HVAC, fire suppression system, and CO2 detection system, Wilkin said.
Upcoming on Dec. 4 is the 39th annual Eagles Christmas Parade at 6 p.m. Those interested in being in the parade should show up at the Greenfield Research parking lot at 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 4 to begin line-up. No registration is needed. If you have questions, call the Eagles at 937-981-4242.
There will be a finance committee meeting Friday, Nov. 5 at 10 a.m. in the council chambers. The village budget for next year will be discussed.
The village offices have been closed for some time due to the pandemic, however, the offices are currently back open to the public.
Angela Shepherd is a correspondent for the village of Greenfield.