The CIC will send three local economic development officials to Japan in November.

Clark County leaders developing plans for trip to Japan

Board members with the Community Improvement Corp. of Clark County on Thursday discussed an upcoming trip to meet with business leaders in Japan and progress on two studies being conducted with assistance from the University of Cincinnati.

Three workforce development officials are traveling to Japan in November for about 10 days to to develop closer ties with Japanese firms who have local investments. The proposal began in Clark County, but the Dayton Development Coalition is now organizing the trip and including representatives from across the Miami Valley. Horton Hobbs, vice president of economic development for the Chamber of Greater Springfield, will travel to meet with company officials at firms like Yamada, Parker Trutec and Topre.

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Amy Donahoe and Toni Overholser will represent Clark County on the trip. Donahoe is the director of hiring and employer services for the Chamber of Greater Springfield. Overholser is director of workforce and business solutions at Clark State Community College. Marc Murray, vice president and general manager of Yamada’s administration division, will also travel with the group. Hobbs said the group is scheduled to spend about half a day speaking with Yamada’s global president.

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Hobbs said the goal of the trip is to develop better relationships with Japanese firms that have invested here and to explain what local economic development leaders are doing to improve the region’s workforce.

The News-Sun recently reported six Japanese companies in Clark County employ slightly more than 1,200 jobs for the region, according to information from the Dayton Development Coalition.

Local officials also recently met with leaders of Navistar at that company’s corporate headquarters in Lisle, Il., said Michael McDorman, president and CEO of the Chamber of Greater Springfield. He said Navistar is interested in attracting younger, talented workers and continues to see the company’s Springfield facility as an important part of the company’s future.

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Navistar’s Springfield facility produces medium, severe service and heavy duty commercial trucks, and the GM cutaway van on a separate line. McDorman said the company is in contract negotiations with the UAW Local 402, the union representing the majority of Navistar’s local workforce.

Hobbs also said the CIC is finalizing the results of two studies being conducted with assistance from the University of Cincinnati. One study is focused on how much of Clark County’s workforce lives in Clark County and what portion lives across county lines. A separate study with the university will also provide information about wages, particularly what area employers need to offer to provide local workers with a suitable living wage.

Hobbs said the results of the wage study could be made public as early as November.

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