By Chase Kamp Southeast Valley Ledger
For 25 years, the Pinal County Town Hall has been a major gathering of County stakeholders with the purpose of tackling the region’s issues. Held on Oct. 10 and 11 in Gold Canyon, this year’s Town Hall brought dozens of government officials, local business delegates and private sector representatives under one tent to access the County’s business future.
The Pinal County Town Hall is an assembly of delegates that identifies critical issues facing Pinal County and creates a forum for education and exploration of a single topic each year.
The larger theme of this year’s town hall was “Workforce Next Gen: Cultivating Success in Pinal County,” with discussion in the specific areas of hiring veterans, looking at future employers coming to the County and examining the substance of the County’s workforce.
Sandy Smith with Pinal Partnership has attended every Town Hall since the beginning.
“I believe they are relevant,” she said, “getting folks together from across the county and talking about a relevant issue.”
“One of the reasons we decided on this subject this year was because we did economic development the year before and wanted to follow-up about the workforce,” she added.
Finding out the needs of future employers in the County will be critical. Casa Grande Mayor Bob Jackson was on-hand to discuss the employment needs of Phoenix Mart, the international. Discussion also involved the continued expansion of the Gateway Airport in nearby Mesa.
“How do we get a qualified workforce and what do we know is here?” Smith said. “When somebody wants to invest in PC and bring those jobs to us, how to do we get that information out?”
Promoting resources for job placement, especially for veterans, was another major topic. The discussion about available programs brought together officials from the Arizona Department of Economic Security, Central Arizona College, Central Arizona Governments and the Gila County Re-Employments and Pre-Layoff Assistance Program.
The Department of Economic Security, for example, has programs for disabled veterans and other hopeful workers that pair them with employers seeking positions that demand their skills.
“There’s a lot of good things happening that not a lot of people know about,” Smith said.
The Town Hall functions as a gathering place for a diverse array of community leaders, government officials, business-owners and County stakeholders, said Central Arizona Governments executive assistance Andrea Robles. “Town Hall draws upon the diversity of our delegates to promote public discussion and consideration of issues, builds consensus, and supports implementation of strategies developed during the course of this forum.”
Previous themes for the County Town Hall have addressed education, rural healthcare, sustainable growth and economic issues.
An annual report, which includes recommendation and suggestions, is prepared after each Town Hall and distributed to delegates and partners. “The Town Hall does not possess official power or authority,” Robles said, “but rather encourages delegates to begin a grassroots effort to implement strategies developed during the two-day forum.”
To review this and previous year’s reports, and to find more information about the event, visit PinalCountyTownHall.com.
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