EDUCATION

Economic Development Speaker at CSC April 8

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

Carl Sandburg College will host a luncheon featuring Tom Blaha on Friday, April 8, from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Student Center in Building B on the Main Campus. The event is an opportunity to learn what economic development strategies worked in Northwest Ohio and how they might be implemented in West Central Illinois. Cost for the event is $35 and includes lunch.?

Blaha is the executive director for the Wood County Economic Development Commission (WCEDC) operating out of Bowling Green, Ohio. Wood County is a rural region with similar demographics to Knox County. In the past 15 years, the Wood County Economic Commission (WCEDC) has attracted more than $3 billion in private sector industrial investment, creating over 7,000 jobs in a rural county with a population of 125,000. These accomplishments were recognized by the Ohio Development Association with their prestigious “Red Carnation Award” and by Moody’s Investor’s Services through elevating the county bond rating from A to AA.

Blaha originally organized focus groups of public and private sector stakeholders, then established the WCEDC as a 501 (c) 6 private non-profit corporation and became its first executive director in 1993. He has since expanded the membership base beyond the county’s four cities and now includes over 100 private companies paying annual membership fees in excess of $1,500.

Blaha was previously an instructor at Carl Sandburg College in the 1970s and is familiar with our region. He has worked in economic development since 1985 and has been the executive director of the WCEDC since 1993. Tom earned his bachelor’s degree from Bowling Green State University and his master’s degree in economic geography from Western Illinois University.  He also completed the Economic Development Institute at The University of Oklahoma.

This event is being offered as a workshop by through CSC Center for Agriculture, Business and Industry and is co-sponsored by the Galesburg Regional Economic Development Association (GREDA). To register, contact Linda Hankins, administrative assistant, at (309) 345-3501 or lhankins@sandburg.edu.