A Shared Vision for Southeast Ohio
Norm Blanchard, Regis Woods, and Larry Caldwell—representing the Cambridge-Guernsey County Community Improvement Corporation (CIC), the Guernsey County Port Authority, and the Community Industrial Association (CIA)—would likely argue that there are fewer places nicer to live than Guernsey County. They have spent decades between them extolling the virtues of Cambridge and surrounding areas to new businesses considering relocating to the region. And with Zane State College’s Education and Training Center having broken ground in September, they have a new point of pride to discuss with current and future employers.
“When site selectors look around, view websites, and talk to our organizations, we tell them we have an available and trainable workforce,” said Norm Blanchard, director of the Cambridge-Guernsey County Community Improvement Corporation. “We can point to Zane State College and boast about programs that are doing something about increasing the number of educated workers.”
The CIC, CIA, and Port Authority each work to improve the quality of life and promote economic development for the community. When Dr. Paul Brown, president of Zane State College, asked the leaders of the three organizations to support the Building a Vibrant Community Campaign, they agreed so strongly about the benefits of the proposed college expansion that they invested twice the amount they were asked to invest. Their investment included a donation of the land that the new building will occupy—located conveniently across the street from the land the organizations donated in 2001 for the Willett-Pratt training Center.
“What makes the community vibrant is having opportunity,” said Regis, President of the Guernsey County Port Authority. “The Port Authority tries to make the community better and that is usually through job creation. Job creation brings success for families and a wide-range of benefits to our community. Our vision could not have been closer to Zane State College’s vision for what we wanted our community to be.”
“Sitting on the edge of Appalachia we have had a real struggle with economic development,” said Caldwell, president and CEO (retired) Camco Financial Corp./Advantage Bank. “This college campus is a culmination of a lot of people working together over a long period of time. It is going to be a crown jewel for this area.”
“A vibrant community is an educated community,” Caldwell continued. “I have witnessed the need of people in the community and so much of it is tied to education. What I anticipate seeing in 10 to 20 years is huge improvement based on what Zane State College is just getting started.”