By Sam Holbrooks
February 28, 2017
Before calling a very brief meeting to order Monday at Seminole City Hall, the Board of Directors of the Seminole Economic Development Corporation met with representatives from Odessa College and made official a new partnership between the two entities. After a short presentation, Board President Kevin Petty signed off on a new agreement that will allow a new workforce development program centered at City Hall on a weekly basis.
Speaking on behalf of OC, Jonathan Fuentes told the Board that he will be present in Seminole weekly to advise local businesses on financial services and workforce related matters. “We’re listening to the folks who will be hiring your graduates,” Fuentes said. “You can keep them here, train them up, and get them ready to work.”
Having met with area School Superintendent Gary Laramore, the group will work closely with school and hospital officials on workforce related issues, including the consideration and development of new dual credit programs and technical training. “Mr. Laramore has been a great partner in helping us get some of these programs off he ground,” SEDC Executive Director Chris Jones told the Board.
Fuentes told the Board that a similar partnership between OC and the city of Pecos has yielded positive results in the development of the local workforce.
After convening the scheduled meeting, the Board offered for public hearings four new SEDC sponsored loan programs individually: the Seminole Expansion and Development Loan Guarantee Incentive Program, the Seminole New Business Interest Loan Rebate Incentive Program, the Seminole Business Retention Microloan Incentive Program, and the Seminole New Business Low-Interest Interest Loan Incentive Program. The Board will conduct one additional hearing before these programs become official policy.
In his Director’s Report, Jones related details of his recent trip to Austin to receive new training in small business financing. On his way back, Jones was able to stop in San Angelo, where local SkillsUSA students were engaged in regional competitions. Jones also reported that on Tuesday, he would be travelling to San Diego for a convention of those involved in the wind turbine industry.