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Ohio BRN Highlighted at State Board Meeting

10 June 2019

The Ohio Business Resource Network (OBRN) held a panel discussion at the Workforce West Virginia quarterly board meeting held on April 17, 2019 in Charleston, WV. WorkForce West Virginia is the state agency funded through the U.S. Department of Labor that oversees the state unemployment insurance program as well as a network of workforce development boards and services designed to provide West Virginia's citizens and employers the opportunity to compete in today’s competitive global economy.

Two years ago, OBRN staff began to meet with workforce development boards from northern West Virginia and southwestern Pennsylvania to consider expansion of BRN across state lines, particularly to help those companies that operate in the shared economy of the Ohio River. Five Pennsylvania workforce boards and two West Virginia boards have agreed to adopt the program in their regions

Serving on the panel were Matt Falter, OBRN Project Director, Jim Denova, Vice President, Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, Rosemary Guida, Executive Director, Northern Panhandle Workforce Development Board, Wheeling WV and Janelle Comstock, Program Director, Mid-Ohio Valley Workforce Development Board, Parkersburg, WV. Much of the presentation focused on how the model can help local economic development professionals partner more closely with local workforce development boards to implement a regional business service delivery strategy, demonstrating an ability to meet employer needs. The discussion also focused on the OBRN expansion currently underway in the Northern Panhandle and Mid-Ohio Valley regions and how private philanthropic organizations can be utilized across state lines for replicating best practices and innovative projects related to workforce and economic development.

A key part of the BRN interstate strategy is to help businesses seek new markets and business contracts. The tristate BRN teams will work closely with regional manufacturing extension partnerships, which, under Appalachian Regional Commission funding, are mapping new suppliers and clients for manufacturing firms that traditionally relied on the coal industry. The BRN also supports the Tristate Shale Coalition’s efforts to grow the energy related manufacturing sector in the region.

Claude Worthington Benedum FoundationWorkForce West Virginia

Jim Denova providing opening remarks to Workforce West Virginia board members.

Jim Denova, Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, providing opening remarks to Workforce West Virginia board members. Panelists seated L to R: Matt Falter, Janelle Comstock and Rosemary Guida.

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