Developing workforce development in Highland County

11-2-21 council
Greenfield Council members (l-r) Eric Borsini, Kyle Barr, Phil Clyburn, Amie Ernst, and Brenda Losey are pictured during Tuesday's regular session. (Photo by Angela Shepherd)


By Angela Shepherd
Village of Greenfield

The county’s workforce development task force and the importance of this work were one of the topics discussed at the Nov. 2 Greenfield Council meeting. 

In his report to council, city manager Todd Wilkin spoke about a recent event he attended where he was a guest panelist who provided a point of view on the importance of workforce development, bridging the gaps between education and businesses, and breaking the language barriers that exist between them so that students have a much better understanding of not only what careers are out there after school, but also what is right here at home. 

Earlier this year the village held an industrial roundtable meeting that included local industry and schools from the county. In that meeting, representatives of Building Bridges to Careers (BB2C) talked about their success in building bridges across the gaps between businesses and educational institutions to strengthen the workforce and the opportunities that young people have to draw from when deciding on their career paths.

The organization has since been helping Highland County create its own BECA, which is a Business Engagement with Career Awareness group. The county’s task force has regular meetings and all the Highland County schools are involved, as well as Highland County Community Action, the Highland County Chamber of Commerce, the county’s economic development office, Ohio Means Jobs, Southern State Community College, Hillsboro, and Greenfield, and it was all started with that meeting with BB2C earlier in the year. 

Wilkin previously said this is something that will take some time, but the task force is working. He noted that while the task force may not be Greenfield-centric, it will affect Greenfield’s youth and help get kids better opportunities. If this isn’t done now, 10 years from now it’s going to be about trying to figure it out all over again and by then a decade of students that could have been helped with further resources about what is possible beyond high school would have been missed. 

On a related matter, council member Amie Ernst spoke briefly about her involvement on a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) project with Rep. Shane Wilkin and Dr. Shane Shope that they have all collaborated on since 2019. 

Recently, the coding project was awarded a four-year grant and will benefit Highland County, and four other counties in the region. It is something, Ernst said, that just “went live” and provides to the schools in the counties the teacher licensing necessary, the computer technology resources,  and the “core STEM education” that will help get students on the computer sciences path. 

Jay and Beth Hardy honored on retirement

In other meeting business, Jay and Beth Hardy were presented a proclamation honoring the family’s decades of service to Greenfield through Hardy Memorials. While the Hardys are retiring, they have taken steps to ensure the business lives on in the community. Chillicothe Monument will be the new owner of the business and will continue the operations in Greenfield. 

Rebecca Stuckey Appreciation Day

The village proclaimed Nov. 3, 2021 as Rebecca Stuckey Appreciation Day in the Village of Greenfield. Council members presented a proclamation to her daughters Kelly, Karla, and Kim at the council meeting Tuesday night. Stuckey, who passed away in September, was a devoted wife and mother and for more than 18 years served the Greenfield community as a finance clerk until her retirement five years ago. 

Lt. Brian McNeil recognized

Wilkin reported that Lt. Brian McNeil of the Greenfield Police Department has received the Highland County Officer of the Quarter Award from the office of Highland County Prosecutor Anneka Collins. 

The city manager said McNeil is an asset not only to Greenfield, but the county and region as well, and Greenfield is “fortunate” to have him on its police force. 

In his report, finance director Gary Lewis presented October’s preliminary numbers. Those are: month-to-date revenue - $392,055; month-to-date expense - $481,143; year-to-date revenue - $4.45 million; year-to-date expense - $4.01 million; and a general fund balance as of Oct. 31, 2021 of $603,048. 

In other matters, there was some discussion regarding Beggar’s Night and the turnout of kids trick-or-treating this year, which appeared to be well more than in year’s past. In all, everyone remarked at the success of both the parade, held the Tuesday before trick-or-treating, and Beggar’s Night. 

Councilman Eric Borsini remarked on his own childhood experiences of the excitement of donning his costume and the fun of going door to door trick-or-treating. He said in all his years of being in Greenfield, he has yet to be able to pass out candy from his home because, being a downtown business owner, he is always at his business passing out candy for the village’s Safe Trick-or-Treat where downtown businesses decorate their storefronts and pass out candy. 

While that event is well-liked and very well-attended, Borsini noted that there are a lot of people missing the door-to-door aspect of trick-or-treating. He proposed that perhaps there could be two nights, one for the merchants and one for the community.

Wilkin said with the parade and so many kids already dressed up, maybe the downtown trick-or-treat could follow the parade, and then Beggar’s Night would be kids descending on the neighborhoods throughout the village like it used to be. This way, there wouldn’t be any competition between downtown and neighborhoods and those that love to pass out candy from their homes might be able to see a resurgence in kids visiting their homes on Beggar’s Night. He said it’s something he will talk to Paint Creek EMS/Fire District about as it is who puts on the parade. 

Update on properties

Council questions were asked regarding 311 North Street and the long awaited demolition of that property. Wilkin said the contractor has had to wait on utility removal, but the demolition is supposed to begin this week.

Another question was asked about the Elliott Hotel and what was happening there. Wilkin said the owner is quit claiming the property to the village, and the corner will be cleaned up. After that clean-up, what comes next is undecided at this time. 

Council passed legislation for a contract with the Highland County Board of Commissioners for lease of the second floor of the city building where the court resides. There was a previous agreement in place that was for 20 years and has expired. The new agreement is for 10 years and at the same rate as the previous agreement. 

Wilkin said the money from this 10-year contract will be used to replace old, single-paned windows in the city building with maintenance free, double-paned windows that will look like the windows currently in the historic structure. 

Another piece of legislation passed allows for the use of coronavirus relief funds to have electrical work done on the building the village bought at the industrial park earlier this year to house the street department. The work will bring the electric at the building up to code and allow for further work to be done with the HVAC, fire suppression system, and CO2 detection system, Wilkin said.

Christmas parade set for Dec. 4

Upcoming on Dec. 4 is the 39th annual Eagles Christmas Parade at 6 p.m. Those interested in being in the parade should show up to the Greenfield Research parking lot at 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 4 to begin line-up. No registration is needed. If you have any questions, call the Eagles at 937-981-4242.

There will be a finance committee meeting Friday, Nov. 5 at 10 a.m. in the council chambers. The village budget for next year will be discussed. 

Village offices open to public

The village offices have been closed for some time due to the pandemic, however, the offices are currently back open to the public. 

The Greenfield Village Council meets the first and third Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. in the council chambers on the third floor of the city building. For updates and information, go to greenfieldohio.net and the Village of Greenfield, Ohio Facebook page.