The Wayne County Development Alliance (WCDA) received an “Excellence in Economic Development” award from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) for the “WORKS” initiative at the annual IEDC conference held October 5 – 7, 2009 in Reno, NV. Accepting the award for the Development Alliance were Mike Haney, Vice President/Existing Industry Specialist, and Lindsey Savell, Research & Marketing Specialist. Mike Haney was one of the founding leaders in developing the WORKS initiative for Wayne County and Lindsey Savell wrote, prepared, and submitted the winning package.
The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is an international organization comprised of economic developers and associates from around the globe. Each year, the IEDC holds an annual conference for educational seminars, networking opportunities, and to recognize outstanding economic development initiatives and programs. This year, the Wayne County Development Alliance submitted the WORKS initiative for “Best Human Capital Program” and was selected as the winner in this category by a panel of professionals in economic development.
WORKS (Wayne Occupational Readiness Keys for Success) was created in 2006 by a group of concerned practitioners in workforce and economic development. The mission of the initiative was to develop and market a skilled and certified workforce for Wayne County by facilitating communications and collaboration between stakeholders, assessing workforce needs and gaps, supporting local, regional and state initiatives, and securing adequate workforce development funding. The WORKS initiative is currently headed by Diane Ivey, Workforce Development Coordinator at Wayne Community College.
“Furthering economic development is rarely a simple task in the best of times, and advancing the cause in the midst of a global financial crisis is nothing less than arduous,” said Ian Bromley, IEDC chair. “As the consequences of the widespread economic turmoil have taken hold, we have seen our members become even more ardent proponents of economic development, flying in the face of one of the most challenging economic environments we have experiences in our careers. We proudly present this award to the Wayne County Development Alliance for its superior work during these difficult times.”
In receiving the award, Mike Haney stated, “For years, our industry leaders have been concerned about the skills of our workforce. Three years ago we went into action. What resulted was the development of the WORKS initiative; a way to qualify and certify our workforce to meet the demands of our local industries.”
“Winning this award is a shining moment for Wayne County and a true testament to our dedication to make Wayne County a work-ready community, which is perhaps the most crucial piece of the economic development puzzle,” said Ray McDonald, WCDA Chairman.
“Wayne County ranks #1 in the state for Career Readiness Certificates awarded. What that says to companies considering Wayne County is ‘Hey, we have a certified, motivated, and skilled workforce to meet your demands’. Having an award and distinction that recognizes our efforts and success thus far is invaluable, and gives Wayne County a clear competitive edge,” said Joanna Helms, WCDA President.