CCPA Hears about SOD, Extends Freshmade 3D Lease

LISBON, Ohio –The Sustainable Opportunity Development Center n Salem is active in helping provide workforce development to the county as it attempts to attract and retain business.

This was the message shared Monday night by SOD Executive Director Julie L. Needs with the Columbiana County Port Authority Board of Directors.

Needs joined the center in February 2018. “We have a great collaborative relationship with her,” noted Penny Traina, Port Authority Executive Director.

The Sustainable Opportunity Development Center is a 501(c)3 economic development organization that serves the city of Salem and surrounding areas. Its mission is to support business attraction, retention, expansion, entrepreneurship, infrastructure, quality of life and workforce development by connecting with regional, state and national resources. 

In the past 10 months, Needs said, the primary focus has been on workforce development, with an SOD Training Center for Workforce Development opened in November 2018. A grant was awarded for the training center, and Needs said while it was intended for smaller employers for training, it has developed further. 

Training is being provided in four key areas: health and safety/workplace improvement; leadership development/supervisory training; professional/personal development; and technical skills training.

“We’re bringing in trainers not only from statewide but from other states,” Needs advised, saying training is not only for current employer needs but for future employers.

Over the past nine months, SOD has held 29 courses and workshops, two job fairs resulting in 23 new hires, has served 594 individuals living in 43 different zip codes and served 35 companies with 1,448 contact hours, Needs reported.

“We’re not competing with the local career/technical centers or Kent State University,” she added.

The training center is available to businesses across Columbiana County, Traina pointed out.

Needs agreed. “We’re happy to work with them and find trainers for them,” she said.

Needs, Traina and the board discussed a problem that has surfaced regarding employees, noting that many are deficient in basic math skills, with one company official having advised that 90% who take a math test he gives can only get two questions correct.

Traina said, “When I tour businesses, they say the same thing. It’s the math skills, in addition to not being able to pass a drug test.”

Needs was asked by board Chairman Charlie Presley if she knows how many job openings are available in Salem, and she estimated about 1,100 within a five mile radius of the city.

Presley said there is “tremendous growth in almost every company I see,” and said he knows of few companies where “someone good with the right attitude” would “go a long way.”

During the monthly meeting, the board voted, with member Nicholas Amato absent, to pass a resolution entering into a lease agreement with Freshmade 3D for an additional 1,780 square feet of industrial space at the Cherry Fork Industrial Park in Leetonia. The lease will cost the company $5,340 annually in monthly installments of $445 plus $234 per month for common area maintenance.

Freshmade 3D is a portfolio company of the Youngstown Business Incubator which expanded to the Leetonia industrial park, according to Traina. It specializes in computer aided drafting, 3D scanning and large 3D printing. 

Traina said the company will use products from local company Humtown Pattern to support its printing.

Traina also reported the Small Business Development Center at Kent State University, Tuscarawas will be offering two sessions at the Port Authority offices: So You Want to Open a Restaurant (food truck, coffee shop,catering business), Sept. 9 and Human Resources 101, Sept. 10. Both sessions are from 9-11:30 a.m. Registration is $20 and can be made by calling Deanna Spencer at 330-308-7522.

The board’s next regular meeting is at 5 p.m. Sept. 23.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.