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Smart Works Year in Review

The Franklin County team has been hard at work this year.

Commissioners Approve First Round of Infrastructure Bank Loans

On October 27, the Commissioners approved the funding of three infrastructure projects around the county aimed at spurring economic growth. The projects are the first to be financed under the commissioners’ Infrastructure Works initiative, and are being undertaken by the cities of Whitehall and Upper Arlington, and the village of Marble Cliff.

Infrastructure Works makes almost $20 million available for low-interests loans for cities, villages, and townships within Franklin County to build physical infrastructure that will result in economic development.

Eligible projects may include transportation, energy, water and telecommunication infrastructure such as roads and bridges, electrical power networks, natural gas pipelines, wind, solar or other green infrastructure, and water and telecommunications infrastructure such as broadband and fiber.

Franklin County ranked No. 4 nationally for job creation

Franklin County ranks No. 4 among U.S. counties for jobs created by larger companies, according to an analysis of government employment figures by Headlight Data.

The ranking, which shows Franklin County adding 3,235 new jobs between 2013 and the end of last year, is supposed to give economic development officials an inkling for the places seeing the most success - and struggles - with hosting corporate headquarters.

Energy Works Program to Provide Loans for Energy Efficiency Upgrades

Energy Works, is a low-interest revolving loan fund that will make money available to businesses, local governments, schools, and non-profits in Franklin County for energy efficient upgrades.

The commissioners are committing $1.5 million to the project each year for at least the next five years and, because the awards are loans and the fund revolves, it should grow and continue in perpetuity.

Energy-efficient upgrades could include renewable power generation such as natural gas, biomass, wind or solar, fuel cells, waste energy recovery, high efficiency HVAC, and smart lighting.

Downtown Works initiative to revitalize downtown commercial districts

On July 7, the Commissioners authorized a new economic development initiative called Downtown Works. The latest in the Commissioners’ Smart Works suite of economic development programs, Downtown Works is a partnership with Heritage Ohio, which works with municipalities all over the state to preserve and revitalize historic downtowns, and is funded with $54,175 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) money.

Commissioners Unveil New Job Training Program

On May 8, Commissioner Marilyn Brown unveiled a new 5-year, $2.5 million investment in training opportunities for Franklin County residents and businesses called People Works.

People Works includes the addition of an employer liaison service and two new flexible grant programs to facilitate the private sector employment and training of low-income Franklin County residents who currently receive public assistance, and matches the knowledge, skills, and abilities of individual public assistance recipients with the hiring needs of local partnering businesses and organizations.

Smart Works in Franklin County

In 2012, County Commissioners introduced a new effort to target the ongoing strategic investments made by the County into workforce development, job retention and job creation: "Smart Works in Franklin County." Through incentives, entrepreneur training and financial support, Franklin County encourages the retention and growth of existing businesses and the creation of innovative new businesses. At the same time, the County invests in efforts to grow our smart workforce and to build smart partnerships to generate new discoveries that fuel economic growth. Because of these smart investments to improve the opportunity for economic development in Franklin County, the region continues to be a magnet for attracting and retaining smart and creative talent.

John O'Grady President
Paula Brooks
Marilyn Brown