By Joanne Huist Smith
MCOFuture action plan
What the Montgomery County Commission will do:
I. Increase the percentage of adults who have a college degree or a post high-school credential.
- Action: Become the first Ohio county to ensure access to preschool for children whose families desire it and who are at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level by 2015. Support quality preschools by securing public and private grants for scholarships for low-income families. Use Human Service levy dollars to ensure more preschools are rated highly by the state.
- Action: Support initiative to ensure all 3rd-graders learn to read well. Work with Learn to Earn Dayton, school districts, libraries and human-service programs to guarantee children who are behind get tutoring. Focus on improving the reading levels of children in foster care.
- Action: Get more people on track for credentials needed for in-demand jobs. Identify three top employment growth sectors and create training programs to link unemployed/underemployed individuals with companies struggling to hire qualified workers.
- Action: Recruit local university students to live and work here after graduation, and “bring home” young people who have left. Double the 50 internships Montgomery County now offers and challenge other government agencies and businesses to match this commitment. Highlight the region’s assets in a robust social media campaign.
II. Target the county’s economic development assistance to small businesses.
- Action: Support small businesses via economic development programs, grants and contracts. Target up to $1 million per year of ED/GE funds to small and emerging businesses that show good potential for creating new jobs. Include language in agreements with vendors and contractors to encourage inclusion of small and emerging businesses as primary participants and subcontractors. Accelerate efforts to bring broadband and high speed, wireless capacity to every business and residence in the county.
III. Collaborate to save money, improve efficiency and add competitiveness.
- Action: Increase collaborations. Form a Montgomery County Council of Government establishing a central point for shared services and combined service delivery. Encourage the co-location of private and public sector economic development organizations. Coordinate/co-locate state-mandated regulatory and permitting offices such as building, fire and plumbing inspection. Establish a county-wide Joint Economic Development District to simplify payroll tax collection, end in-county poaching and tax-induced relocations.
IV. Measure results, improve best practices and market successes.
- Action: Benchmark against best practices and position county advantages with cooperative marketing. Measure progress compared to counties that outperform Montgomery County and nearby metropolitan areas. Create a “peer communities group” with winning counties to share data and best practices. Make progress reports to the public. Collaboratively market the county’s advantages.