Thursday, December 13, 2012

Local & State Business Expansion Results

Bill Blazar with the Minnesota Chamber shares
our local, regional and statewide
business results. 
Chamber members learned about local, as well as state wide, business retention and expansion survey results at a GrowMN! Luncheon event today.  GrowMN! is a program of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce.

The recap from was significant giving us a pulse of how Owatonna and the region compare to the state on many different subjects.  The local interviews were conducted in the spring and summer of 2012 before the fiscal cliff gridlock plastered the news.  The discussion revolved around accomplishments, challenges, workforce and community strengths and weaknesses.

Local business leader panelists include (from left to right):
Scott Kubicek, Advantage Cabinets; Jeff Graby, Truth Hardware;
Tim Bush, Pro-Pet
A few interesting takeaways from the local survey of 37 businesses included electricity and power costs in our area appear to be lower than other parts of the state.  Higher education is a local concern that we need to improve more that other areas.  It was also noted that employers have difficulty recruiting skilled employees.  Fewer workers have the proficiency needed to fill jobs when there are jobs available.  Regional health care costs were mentioned as being higher in the area than other parts of the state.

One major manufacturing company no longer has the local clinic as part of their network.   Finally, shifting taxes from home owners to businesses was also a negative in our area.  We ranked higher than the state in keeping/remaining/maintaining expansion and businesses in our area compared to the state.

Locally the interviews portrayed businesses as healthy and with more optimism than previous years.  There have been expansions and unemployment is lower.  We need to foster employee learning and leadership to keep our region vibrant.

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