- Jan 16
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- Jan 14
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Burlington/Coffey County residents: A sign on the door of our local ShopKo Hometown Store indicates it will be closing its doors. I am contacting management and corporate to gather more information on this closure. Obviously, this is a huge loss for our small community and for the dedicated and helpful employees. I will share more information as soon as I can. Stacy Haines Director Coffey County Economic Development UPDATE 1/9/19 (10 a.m.) - I have contacted Southeast KansasWorks and they plan to speak with store management for a Rapid Response for employees. Employees will be considered Dislocated Workers and will qualify for schooling and additional training if they choose a different career path. UPDATE 1/9/19 (1:46 p.m.) - 13 employees will be affected by the store closure. Closure is tentatively slated for April 7th and liquidation starts on Friday. An official press release should be coming from corporate within a week. If you know of any job openings in our county please send information to me at email@example.com so I can compile a list.
- Jan 02
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Good Morning business leaders and residents: Happy New Year! I want to take some time to share what we have been up to in our office and exciting initiatives on the horizon. Hot topics in economic development this year included: workforce development/availability, entrepreneurial ecosystems, placemaking, and shovel ready industrial sites. Workforce Development/Availability This is a hot topic for economic developers, companies, and workforce development boards right now. Twenty to thirty years ago, the labor force was demand driven. The company would locate in a community and the workforce would follow. Today, communities have to show they have a skilled workforce before a company will consider that location as a viable option. In fact, Site Selection magazine noted Labor Availability as the number 1 item companies look for when expanding or relocating a business. Wow. This presents an issue for rural areas most definitely, but it is also issue in urban areas. Kansas’ unemployment rate is pretty low, however data shows we have 7,000 less workers in the KS labor pool than we had 5 years ago and in Coffey County from 2013-2017 our labor force declined 9%. Now, we could discuss the data and the reasons for this all day long, but the fact of the matter is we have less workers and the labor force is supply driven now. We have to put this at the top of our list in Coffey County if we want to A.) Provide skilled workers for our current businesses and B.) Recruit new and expanding businesses to our communities. How are we working on this? We are in the process of becoming a certified ACT WorkReady Community. Through this process, we create a collaborative framework for workforce development with partners including KansasWorks, local employers, government officials, and schools. Two of our school districts are already on board to utilize the ACT WorkReady Curriculum and use the ACT WorkKeys Assessment Tool. As we work through this process, we will create a comprehensive workforce development plan and begin to collect data needed for certification and ultimately to aide us in business recruitment and retainment. Shovel Ready Sites Another big topic and extremely important for small communities. In order to attract and recruit larger industries, we must have sites available that are shovel ready. Shovel ready means all the infrastructure is available and the land is zoned, surveyed and ready for development. Companies want to know that a community has done the work to prepare a site and many companies will not even consider a community that does not have shovel ready sites. In addition, having a certified site is even more attractive. How are we working on this? We have contracted with BG Consultants to create a plan for development at the Coffey County Airport. This site was originally intended to serve as an Industrial Park in 1990s, but development never progressed. From this development plan, the county can move forward with infrastructure improvements as deemed necessary and certify the site. Additionally, the city of Burlington has industrial parks that are shovel ready. These sites need a marketing strategy and perhaps go through the certified sites program as well to provide an extra boost in marketing. On another note, in regards in marketing, this year we will focus on creating a formalized incentive program for new and existing businesses. The combination of these pieces will create a strong marketing angle for our county. Placemaking On the list of hot topics this one is #2. It is much bigger than economic developers and communities are willing to admit. We are in a day and age where people/couples/families can choose where they want to live and then find a job. It used to be the opposite. Today, if an avid snow skier wants to leave his job in sunny Florida to be near the slopes in Colorado, he/she can pretty much do it. Of course, there is more to it than that, but for the sake of an example let’s just use it. Communities have to create a place people want to be, they have to create a brand and they have to sell it. The ole “A great place to work, play, and stay” no longer flies. People want more and they have a choice. This same thing can be said for companies expanding or relocating. When a company decides to relocate the home office and the 250+ high wage employees/families, they are going to look at different things in a community than, say, a food manufacturer opening a new plant. How are we working on this? In 2019, we will spend some time exploring our county’s assets and challenges in order to create a marketing strategy that will work for talent and business recruitment. Entrepreneurial Ecosystems I attended a conference this year on creating an environment that encourages entrepreneurship. It was not something that was even on my radar at the time. I do a lot of work with our small businesses and start-ups, but mostly through a financial and management aspect. For communities to flourish and new companies to start up and grow, it takes an entrepreneurial mindset and a community that is supportive. How are we working on this? This year we will take some time to explore best practices and programs in regards to entrepreneurship that may be a good fit for our communities. From middle/high school programming to business leader initiatives we will be looking at ways to infuse entrepreneurship into our communities. We are looking forward to an exciting year! Sincerely, Stacy Haines Director #ExploreCoffeyCounty
Centrally located, Coffey County is accessible by Interstate and is within a 2 hour drive to major Kansas markets. Coffey County offers a low cost of doing business and an excellent infrastructure complete with fiber optic connectivity. With a low tax rate, Coffey County is a prime location for new businesses and expanding businesses.
A few of our major employers include: Wolf Creek Nuclear Generating Station, Coffey Health System, Charloma (plastics manufacturing), Countertop Trends (laminate countertop manufacturing), Wheeler Lumber (wood truss manufacturer), and a thriving agricultural base.
Coffey County boasts a superior quality of life with abundant community resources including public transportation, comprehensive healthcare services, county-wide library system (a library in each community), outdoor fun, recreational facilities/programs, and unique shopping and art.
The mission of Coffey County Economic Development is to enrich the quality of life of citizens by enhancing the economic vitality of the county through the attraction, growth, and retention of business, industry, and talent in Coffey County.
At CCED we provide:
• Business start-up assistance
• Assistance for existing businesses (expansion, workforce, etc.)
• Professional Development
• Community Engagement
• Marketing and attraction initiatives
• Tourism promotion