Ottawa County officially joined Firelands Forward of North Central Ohio, becoming the third county to align with the Workforce Development Initiative dedicated to driving regional community growth and prosperity.

Developed by a group of private and public leaders in 2019, the three-year strategic plan of Firelands is hyper focused on improving job skills, fulfillment, and retention of labor in the Erie, Huron – and now Ottawa counties, becoming one of the most strategic workforce initiatives in North Central Ohio.

The Firelands initiative is unique in that they not only have an entire staff dedicated to driving workforce growth, they have access to funding that’s used directly to pilot innovative programs, positioning their workforce and talent acquisition goals for each county to be extraordinarily successful. The addition of Ottawa county promises to deepen the connections of Firelands and further enhance their strategic efforts.

“We’re thrilled about our new partnership with Ottawa County, “ said Director of Firelands Forward Alex Jones. “Their Skilled Trades Academy is one of the more successful career development programs in the area and it aligns perfectly with our own high school career development projects. I’m excited to not only bring some of their best practices into our own programming, but to also expand and enhance the support of each other moving forward.”

“We are very excited to join the Firelands Forward workforce initiative”, said Chris Singerling, Executive Director of Ottawa County Improvement Corporation. “This is a national problem, so proactive efforts like this make our entire region competitive in a global economy. Addressing it with a collaborative regional approach not only makes us stronger, but helps satisfy existing workforce demands while enhancing our business attraction strategy.”

“We know that on average, fifty percent of a county’s residents are travelling across county lines to work each day, and consequently, workforce development efforts that truly move the needle, and the trajectory of communities, must be regional,” said Abbey Bemis, Erie County Economic Director & Firelands Board Member. “We’re excited to align Erie & Huron Counties activities with another county that shares our future focus on talent and workforce development, rich history, and captivating destinations.”