May 28 2014 Small towns use creativity to grow

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“Over the past 10 years, FEDA has led efforts that have resulted in a total of $275 million in venture capital invested in local businesses that have, in turn, created over 2,000 jobs. For the community, that growth has also translated into a $10 million arts and convention center, and a new library, hospital and health center. The pattern of growth and local investment isn’t new, Shaefer-Weaton said, but reflects the continuous work on behalf of both community leaders and local businesses to communicate regularly about the needs of each and finding ways to meet them.

Fairfield invests in its schools and supports the career tech paths that tie to local businesses. Toward that end, FEDA helped create the Fairfield Regional Career Academy, a post-secondary education option offering technology and industrial training that met Fairfield’s business needs and that Fairfield’s youth expressed interest in. The two-year program, housed in an unused elementary school, is a consortium of Indian Hills Community College and three local high schools and was created in response to a business survey that indicated the number one concern was workforce recruitment problems.

Fairfield also launched the Come Home Initiative working with Manpower, the regional office of the global workforce solutions company ManpowerGroup, to attract former Fairfield students and residents back to town by connecting them to local employment opportunities.”