BY PCC STAFF
KEOKUK – The Lee County Economic Development Group won a Gold Excellence in Economic Development Award for Grow Lee, a project in the category of Human Capital of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).
The honor was presented at an awards ceremony on Tuesday, during the IEDC Annual Conference, which was held Sept. 17 – 20, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
“On behalf of the IEDC board of directors and Excellence in Economic Development Awards Advisory Committee, congratulations to the Lee County Economic Development Group. Not only did they work to provide a necessary service to their community; but also, their participation in the awards program sheds light on their stellar projects which other communities can now use as a benchmark.” – Michael Langley, FM, CEO of GREATER MSP, Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN, and 2017 IEDC Board Chair.
Grow Lee is a workforce and business retention/expansion project focused on growing and increasing the quality of Lee County’s workforce. Developed by the Lee County EDG, Grow Lee has continued to provide innovative programs and solutions for our workforce issues. Grow Lee programs include, uptraining the existing workforce, Lego robotics, apprenticeships, scholarships, externships and many other connections designed to touch all the residents of our county.
“Starting in 2014 our organization brought together industries, schools, students, partner agencies and stakeholders to develop a new set of workforce initiatives.” said COO Dennis Fraise, “Each Grow Lee meeting is strategically designed to last 58 minutes. A strategy of Data – Knowledge – Action has resonated with stakeholders and has created unprecedented collaboration between all the groups involved.”
Grow Lee has continued to expand into new areas and the level of participation has increased over the last several years. Grow Lee has had a tremendous impact on the future of the local county.
“The success of Grow Lee, and our programs, is a direct result of the collaborative effort of all of Lee County EDG’s partnerships and stakeholder participation” commented Dana Millard Marketing & Communications Manager. “This award is a tribute to not only our work but those who have assisted with this process. Everyone has a voice in our workforce initiatives and Grow Lee.”
Lee County EDG also received the award for Business Retention & Expansion (BRE) Overall Program for 2016 and 2017 from the Professional Developers of Iowa. The award recognizes the outstanding efforts of local and regional economic development initiatives in supporting growth and expansion of existing Iowa companies.