New director for area EDC
MANISTIQUE – The Schoolcraft County Economic Development Corporation has a new director and new direction. These changes come after the resignation of the former director earlier this year, followed by a monthslong strategic planning process.
Manistique resident Paul Garber took the lead as EDC director on Sept. 9, following hiring process in mid-August. According to Garber, he and the EDC Board are still “hammering out details” of the position and its focus in the future.
“To lead us in a different path, one thing that we need to is kind of shift away from some of the things that we’ve been doing in the past, and keeping the things that have worked really well, and dismissing the things that haven’t,” he explained.
Some of those things that haven’t necessarily helped the EDC in its mission to foster economic growth in the area include the Michigan State Housing Development Authority and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development programs.
“We work closely with MSHDA and HUD and with the Rural Development programs, which are fantastic programs to help people with their housing, and things like that,” he said. “We’re still going to have limited involvement with that; however, it doesn’t really fall into the scope of what our mission is, which is economic development.”
The EDC will still be working with some of the residential housing programs, but will hand most of the paperwork aspect off to Michigan Works!. Garber said the EDC will also be working with Michigan Works! and the Michigan Small Business and Technology
Development on other programs. a “The nice thing about partnering with those organizations is that they have a ton of resources that we just don’t have,” he said. “They help in a lot of ways.”
The organizations can help the EDC with the housing programs, reports, and financial backing, while Garber said he can lend a hand to them with employment searches.
“If I know there is a business that is looking for somebody, I will ensure that they get that posting into the talent bank,” he said.
Currently, the EDC is producing new brochures to outline the EDC’s mission and to reconnect with area businesses, Garber said.
They are also in the process of building a new website.
“One thing that we haven’t done very well in the past at the EDC is welcoming technology, and we’re in an age right now where people can do a lot of things from remote locations,” he said. “We’re an ideal location for a lot of different industries … there’s a lot of technical industry that doesn’t necessarily have to be close to I-75.”
Garber said he is excited the EDC will have a “much larger presence now”, and hopes the website will be available in the coming weeks.
The EDC also recently assisted in developing a technology action plan, which can be viewed at: www.connectmi.org/sites/default/ files/connected-nation/Michigan/ files/schoolcraft_ county_ mi_ technology_ action_ plan_ final.pdf.