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Development Needs Aired at Legislative Forum (Excerpts)

Article by Steve Long, The Times-Reporter September 25, 1999

Sixty-five area officials and economic leaders received a chance to air their goals and concerns face-to-face with a top state official Friday. Lee Johnson, director of the Ohio Department of Development. Keynoted a legislative forum at the McDonald- Marlite Conference Center in New Philadelphia, hearing representatives from 10 counties

While many of the county representatives talked about needs for infrastructure, financing and dealing with governmental agencies, Tuscarawas County representatives offered an innovation termed "knowledge-based economic development." Spokesman Gregg Andrews, dean of the Tuscarawas Campus of Kent State University, talked of a cooperative effort of academic, governmental and economic development based on high-tech clusters and information services.

Andrews said the goals would include "retaining homegrown talent" and providing technically skilled workers who would draw high wages.

He said employers are still looking for workers "who can read and write, be on time, be sober, get along with others and put in a good day's work," but this has been expanded in modern times to those who can "think critically and be eminently trainable for any job."

"The infrastructure already is in place," Andrews continued, but reminded of the need for funding for kindergarten and beyond. He also said there should be incentives for technology parks.

Johnson picked up on the theme, saying, "The new economics tell us there is a great need for that."

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