With the closure of LG Phillips Display Components in December of 2001 and resultant layoff of nearly 1500 employees in county seat, Ottawa, Putnam County officials were forced to address serious economic issues. Reveille assisted WSOS CAC and the Putnam County Board of County Commissioners better understand the economic environment within the county and region.
Similar to Sandusky and Paulding Counties, the rural landscape was cluttered with perceptions and half-truths concerning a variety of economic development issues. During the one-year planning process, Reveille met with public and private officials from all political subdivisions from around the county, listening, educating, and getting a better understanding of each political subdivision’s “comparative advantage” and how these strengths could bolster the County’s overall economic vitality.
This “parts” equals the “whole” or bottom-up strategy was absolutely necessary for this process, as it culminated in the countywide CEDS committee selecting a project that would be presented to the Economic Development Administration (EDA) for federal funding through two separate grant application processes.
The project selected for federal funding was entitled “the Putnam County Education Service-Skilled Learning Center” and would be located in Ottawa with the primary goal to retrain area employees to be better trained and educated.
With the project finalized, application process for federal EDA Public Works monies was quick embraced. The EDA awarded the County a $1.725 Million to develop a skilled learning center to help retrain the displaced workers. The project would become a best practice highlighted by the EDA.