GCDC August Newsletter

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Investor Spotlight – Blackhawk Technical College

GCDC Spotlight

GCDC relies on private investors and public partners to support the mission of growth in Green County. We are excited to spotlight those who invest in the future of Green County.

Blackhawk Technical College –

BTC President, Dr. Tracy Pierner

With the main campus in Janesville, and a second campus in Monroe, Blackhawk Technical College (BTC) serves Rock and Green counties.

Two of the nation’s top laboratory technician programs are available at BTC’s Monroe Campus. The Medical Laboratory Technician and the Laboratory Food Science Technician programs boast exceptional faculty, state-of-art technology, excellent careers, and nearly 100% placement rates for our graduates.

Enrollment at BTC grew significantly in 2023 (nearly 15%) with summer enrollment increases more than 30%. These increases are fueled by flexible options that fit student’s needs, the addition of new fully transferrable 2-year Associate of Arts and Science degrees to local four-year Universities, and enhanced student support available to help student’s reach their goals.

The College is a leader in education that is needed in our community’s workforce and provides local access to world class education at all post-secondary levels. Local employers are participating more aggressively in apprenticeship programs, internships, and other incumbent worker training initiatives such as providing scholarships, purchasing contract training and sending employees to continuing education and credit courses at Blackhawk.

Blackhawk Technical College is committed to the Monroe Campus and Green County community and works with our education and workforce partners to create new opportunities to further the College’s mission: “We help you build your future with a flexible education in a supportive environment”.

What strengths do you see in Green County? Green County offers close proximity to numerous metropolitan areas without the congestion of more urban areas. It has a distinct rural charm and beauty, while also providing high quality education, healthcare, and strong employment opportunities.

What do you see as opportunities, or must dos, in Green County to carry us forward? Opportunities include expanding partnerships with local High Schools to provide access to BTC programming earlier in a student’s journey, continuing to expand the training offered at the Monroe Campus such as ELL, and technical training, as well as building on the excellent associate degree programs offered in Monroe in Agriculture, Medical Lab Technology and Food Science Technology. We need to ensure the opportunities provided in Green County help propel strong economic development and we establish educational partnerships that create a pro-business environment.

What is your future vision for Green County and for Blackhawk Technical College in Green County? We must position the Monroe campus as a recognized and highly prized community resource. To do this, we must grow the Monroe campus through continued partnerships with area high schools offering dual credit, offering the college’s associate degree programs through MyEdChoice which allows students flexibility to attend classes in person or online, and continued supportive training to area employers to offer the skills and training they need to compete successfully in a global marketplace.

Why did Blackhawk Tech become a partner with GCDC and what would you like to see GCDC do more of, or get involved in? The partnership between economic development, workforce development and education is crucial and has been our focus for over 100 years. It is a symbiotic relationship that creates growth and provides industry with the skills and technology needed by business and industry, and provides higher education institutions with connections to the training and skills employers need to grow and expand. BTC would welcome participation in workforce development and training initiatives with GCDC to create more local training that meets local employers needs.

Services provided by Green County Development Corporation, a 501c3 non-profit organization,

are made possible through a combination of public and private investments.

More spotlights to come, but you can always check out our full list of investors and partners on our webpage at greencountydevelopment.com and click the investors tab

Placemaking in Economic Development

Why is Placemaking a Part of Economic Development?

By Olivia Otte, Executive Director, Green County Development Corporation

One reason I love economic development is because of the diverse projects that I get to work on on a day-to-day basis.  On any given day, I can go from focusing on business recruitment, to grant writing, to talking with elected officials.  Even though I enjoy working on all these different aspects of economic development, one of my favorite elements is placemaking.

Placemaking is something that most people usually don’t associate with economic development, but it plays a crucial role. While definitions can vary, most people define placemaking as the practice of creating or enhancing a community’s assets to improve its overall attractiveness and livability.  This can include larger-scale efforts such as alternative transportation infrastructure, or smaller-scale projects like pop-up shop programs and downtown beautification.  With the workforce shortage, placemaking has only become more important. Companies seek talented workers, these workers look for quality places, and quality places attract new residents, jobs, and investments. Placemaking is no longer something that can be pushed to the side, it is now a major factor in a community’s ability to grow.  Here are several reasons why placemaking is important in economic development:

  1. Attracting businesses and investment: Well-designed and vibrant public spaces help to create a more appealing atmosphere for businesses and investors.  These spaces can help attract skilled workers, retain talent, and encourage innovation and entrepreneurship.
  2. Improving property values: Attractive public spaces have a positive impact on property values. Placemaking efforts that enhance the overall character and appeal of a neighborhood or city/village can lead to increased demand for real estate, leading to higher property values and potential economic growth.
  3. Encouraging social interaction and community engagement: Placemaking creates opportunities for social interaction, fostering a sense of community and strengthening social ties. These social connections can lead to stronger local networks, increased civic engagement, and support for local businesses.
  4. Revitalizing underutilized areas: Placemaking can breathe new life into neglected or underutilized areas. By transforming vacant lots, abandoned buildings, or rundown areas into attractive and functional spaces, placemaking initiatives can bring economic benefits to these areas by attracting new businesses and residents.

In summary, placemaking is essential for economic development as it helps attract businesses and investment, improves property values, encourages community engagement, and revitalizes underutilized areas. By investing in the creation of appealing and functional public spaces, our communities can drive economic growth and improve the overall quality of life.