Kansas City Area Development Council’s (KCADC) July Economic Development Alliance Meeting

Mark Beattie, Principal at Hickey & Associates, LLC, was invited to speak at the July 2011 Kansas City Area Development Council (KCADC) meeting in Kansas City, MO. Mark was invited on behalf of Hickey & Associates as part of an effort to bring together leading location consultants and their firms to better familiarize them with the area and Kansas City’s team of community partners. Mark shared his insights on the current corporate mindset for relocations and expansions, as well as his take on the competitiveness of the Kansas City region and the importance for transparency and accountability between public/private partnership

In an effort to strengthen accountability and transparency between public/private partnerships, Hickey & Associates developed a new standard in public incentive tracking and analysis. Mark introduced this development known as the Public Incentive Management System (PIMS). PIMS is a tracking system that allows states, cities, and regions administering incentive programs to enhance transparency and reduce costs while identifying programs that may be under performing. Due to diminishing budgets and a push for greater transparency, it is now more important than ever for governments to effectively track all expenditures, especially public incentives and subsidies provided to corporate investors.

Nicaragua: Let’s Grow Together

Ann with OrtegaAnn Harts, Principal at Hickey & Associates, LLC, was invited to speak at the Pro-Nicaragua Premier Investment Forum titled “”Nicaragua: Let’s Grow Together”” on August 16-17, 2011 in Managua, Nicaragua. The forum will showcase Nicaragua’s economic growth and the reasons why it has become increasingly attractive to foreign investors. Ann is well known as a key player in international economic development with almost three decades of experience in real estate, finance, site selection, incentive negotiations and government relations.

Hickey & Associates, LLC, a global site location and public/private advisory firm, recently announced the merger of its company with HartsGroup, Inc. and welcomed Ann Harts as H&A’s newest Team Member. The combined organization, using the Hickey & Associates, LLC brand, will draw on the talented group of leaders from both companies, and greatly enhance the collective effort to provide advisory services in strategic Latin American markets.

http://www.pronicaragua.org/ForoInversiones2011

Photo to the right: Ann Harts with Daniel Ortega, President of Nicaragua.

Upgrading Your Work Force–Innovative incentive partnerships add value for everyone

An employer’s commitment between company and employee includes reasonable compensation, benefits and a safe and productive working environment. In many companies, that same obligation extends beyond rewarding hard work, ensuring that a foundation of both personal and professional growth is achieved.

Lifelong learning is an additional promise many companies have made to improve professional skill sets through on-going work-force training and skills development. This creates positive effects for both employee and community alike. Types of continuing education and lifetime learning opportunities include:

  • Business Process Improvement, Strategic Planning and Lean Manufacturing;
  • Manufacturing skills such as welding and inventory control;
  • Quality training: QS 9000/ISO 9001, Statistical Process Control and Continuous Quality Improvement;
  • Computer Training;
  • Safety and OSHA compliance training.

Elective Workforce Skills Training (or training not related to new hire orientation and basic skill training) can be an expensive proposition to any size organization. Public financial assistance has been available for many years; however funding levels have been unstable in many jurisdictions due to depleted tax revenue. New legislation, coupled with legacy training incentives and resources from the federal government has led to several significant retraining and skill development opportunities.

Federal Resources

Workforce Investment Act (WIA) funds are federal dollars allocated to states and local organizations to promote the training and skill enhancement of various sectors of society.

Benefits for job seekers, employers and incumbent workers are comprehensive and promote an increase in employment, job retention, earnings and occupational skills. Though a critical program established to improve the productivity and competitiveness of our work force, funding remains limited. For example, the 2011 allocation for the State of California was only $454 million. These funds cover services for adults, downsized workers and youth. With an embattled economy, state budget deficits and unemployment hovering around 12 percent (April 2011), these funds are stretched thin. Work together with a local workforce development representative to identify your company’s needs early and develop a training plan that partners local resources, such as a community college, to assist in your training efforts.

The 2009 Federal Stimulus Bill injected much need monies into the training pipeline, but only served as a temporary inoculation to a long-term needed for skill upgrading. Another program, Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), provides benefits to workers who become unemployed due to international trade. Although this program is geared more toward downsizing then retraining current work force, many opportunities exist to capture funds to close the financing gap of traditional training, including the cost of service providers.

State Resources

All states provide resources to train new and existing employees. In today’s business, political and economic environment, no two programs are created equal. In many instances, it is very difficult to compare apples to apples because the value in cash, cost avoidance and tax benefits varies so much.

Training needs vary between each company, type of industry and activity at a specific facility. Some businesses may only benefit from on-the-job training, while others find value in partnering with a local college to provide faculty and classroom resources. Most benefit from hiring, employee pre-screening and ongoing training assistance.

On-the-job training (OJT) allows a company to incorporate standard training best practices with the cost incurred somewhat, and in some cases completely, covered by financial assistance from a state training grant or fund.

Kansas provides a program, Kansas Industrial Training (KIT), which is easy to administer and is flexible to unavoidable changes in business priorities. esigned to offset the cost of training, funds can be utilized to reimburse costs for pre-employment, OJT and classroom training. Up to 100 percent of the cost can be reimbursed.

An issue for many organizations is the loss of wages for employees while engaged in training activities. For many companies, if an employee isn’t making, selling or adding value to a product or service, the company is losing valuable time and money. When incentive programs include the ability to reimburse or credit actual employee wages, this allows a business to increase its training efforts.

The Job Training Incentives Program (JTIP) offered by the State of New Mexico funds classroom and on-the-job training for, according to New Mexico statute, “newly created jobs in expanding or relocating business for up to six months.” The program reimburses 30 percent to 75 percent of employee wages while participating in training activities. This can lead to thousands of dollars of cash businesses can re-invest in equipment, facilities, and more jobs. JTIP is one of the most successful training incentives currently funded.

Florida has established two unique training partnerships, each geared to new and incumbent training that always remains employer-driven. Costs for curriculum development, instructor wages and materials are reimbursable with the Quick Response Training Program (QRT). Administration is a little bit more cumbersome than in other states; however do not overlook this very valuable tool.

Vocational Training

Skills related to specific trades are often available through a community college and/or vocational training system. These types of schools can offer particular skill set training, for example welding or pharmaceutical manufacturing technician, and directly assist with capturing incentives to help offset the cost.

Certain skills still need to be developed early. Communities are beginning to invest in their high school level learning.In Louisiana, St. Charles Parish established The Satellite Center, a facility where high school juniors and seniors pursue career goals by gaining valuable skills through certification programs. Curriculum supports local growing industries such as computer software design and the oil industry. Students graduate with the basic, and sometimes complex, skills which directly match work force needs at local businesses.

Businesses considering a state or community should discuss what opportunities exist for pre-certification and pre-training. Establishing a pipeline of newly skilled work force who already have basic skills creates a much needed cost avoidance for many organizations.

Other Public/Private Partnerships

Incentives extend much further than tax credits and reimbursable expenses. Other public/private partnerships exist to assist in the cost of recruiting talent.

The Registered Apprenticeship Program through the U.S. Department of Labor aids in the recruiting of new personnel and can support the activities of human resource staff. Registered Apprenticeship program sponsors (e.g. employers, employer associations and labor management organizations) vary from small, privately owned businesses to national employer and industry associations. Many occupations from Bio-Manufacturing Technicians to Engineering are applicable. A flexible and customizable training program can be developed that may qualify for state tax benefits and other financial incentives.

While not all incentives are the right fit for a company and/or community, work-force development incentive programs and partnerships transcend those boundaries to provide a service not only to a business, but also the community as a whole. In some jurisdictions, companies that participate in job training programs and increase their employment may automatically qualify for a corporate income tax credit.

As our economy continues to unknown territory, our work force must remain competitive and up to date on the latest techniques and skills that will help any organization compete in our global society.

by JASON HICKEY
President, Hickey & Associates, LLC

http://www.siteselection.com/issues/2011/jul/workforce-training.cfm
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Jason M. Hickey is President of Hickey and Associates, LLC, a global site selection and public incentive support firm representing a diverse set of industries. For more information, visit www.hickeyandassociates.com.

First IAMC Volunteer Event – Santo Domingo Trading Post

abq-serviceI’ve always enjoyed volunteering — the positive feeling of giving back to whom you’ve served, but also the exposure to new people, environment and cultures one wouldn’t have normally come across in everyday life.

That’s why I personally found the inaugural IAMC volunteer event during the Albuquerque 2011 Spring Forum an incredible and fulfilling experience.

We traveled to the Santo Domingo Indian Reservation via the New Mexico Rail Runner train, a very efficient method of public transportation servicing many communities, including Native American Tribes and Pueblos, along New Mexico’s north/south corridor.

The Kewa Pueblo train station was our stop, an historical destination for tourists in the 1950s and 60s in search of Native American arts and crafts at a building named appropriately: The Trading Post. Our objective was to assist a critical economic development project to reconstruct the Trading Post to attract a new generation of tourists interested in learning about Native American culture.

IAMC members worked together to assemble adobe bricks, an ancient method of brick making, to be used in the renovation. One team of volunteers mixed the sand, clay, straw and water to create the mud slurry, while another group used a wheelbarrow to transport the heavy mud to another team forming the mud into bricks.

As one of a few wheelbarrow operators, I was able to get the dirt on everybody (pun intended), though so did everyone else. At the end of the four-hour event, with the whole group covered in mud and straw, we all stood in front of more than 300 bricks in celebration of not only what we all had accomplished together, but for the local community. Afterwards, we were invited to lunch at the Santo Domingo Senior Center and given a presentation about the local people and culture.

I encourage you to come a day early to the Fall IAMC Forum in Philadelphia to participate in what I’m sure will be another incredible way to network, collaborate and make new friends while giving back to the Greater Philadelphia community.

Jason Hickey

President, Hickey & Associates, LLC

IAMC Dispatch: http://www.iamc.org/resources/dispatch/events/1107.cfm

General Mills to invest $36 million in new Allen County distribution center

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (May 31, 2011) – Indiana Secretary of Commerce Mitch Roob joined executives of global food company General Mills (NYSE: GIS) and representatives of Allen County today to announce the company’s plans to open a new distribution center here, creating up to 65 new jobs by the end of 2012.

General Mills will invest more than $36 million in a new distribution center at 12300 Bluffton Road on the city’s south side. The facility will be built to the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Gold standards and will feature energy efficient lighting, low-flow plumbing and a white roof to reflect sunlight and reduce urban warming.

“Indiana’s expansive transit infrastructure and friendly business climate have made us an attractive home for many companies’ supply chains,” said Roob. “General Mills’ continued interest in Indiana demonstrates our position as national leader in the logistics industry.”

General Mills, which has leased distribution space in Fort Wayne since 2001, plans to begin construction on the new facility in July. Operations will transfer to the new site in the fall of 2012, when the facility is anticipated to be complete.

“General Mills has had a strong relationship with the city of Fort Wayne, Allen County and the state of Indiana for more than a decade,” said Mike Nordstrom, vice president of Corporate Services for General Mills. “Indiana has a hard-working, dedicated workforce, and we are excited by the strategic location that Fort Wayne offers.”

The General Mills’ portfolio of brands is well known to consumers around the world and includes Pillsbury, Green Giant, Cheerios and Betty Crocker. The company has more than 30,000 employees worldwide and operates in more than 100 countries and markets.

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered General Mills up to $500,000 in performance-based tax credits based on the company’s job creation plans. Allen County will consider additional property tax abatement at the request of the Fort Wayne-Allen County Economic Development Alliance.

“General Mills is the latest company to recognize the benefits of conducting business in Allen County,” said Allen County Commissioner Nelson Peters. “Such a major construction project will provide hundreds of jobs for local contractors and boost our economic base. We are encouraged to see a Fortune 500 company grow here.”

The General Mills announcement comes less than two weeks after Family Dollar, Inc broke ground on a new $70 million distribution center in nearby Ashley, Ind. that will create 350 jobs by the end of 2012.

http://www.theallianceonline.com/news-releases/general-mills-to-invest-36-million-in-new-allen-county-distribution

Webinar: Make Your Website Site Selector Friendly

Friday, May 27, 2011

Webinar: Make Your Website Site Selector Friendly

by Jason Hickey, President, Hickey & Associates, LLC

Click link to view Webinar:  http://www.vimeo.com/24289170

Jason Hickey, President of leading site selection firm Hickey & Associates, discusses what site selectors look for when evaluating communities online, including:

  • Real-time data
  • Statistics that accentuate strengths and challenges
  • Property searches
  • Geographic Information System analysis
  • Incentive zones
  • Social media
  • Search engine optimization and search terms
  • Web vs. personal contact with economic development organizations

Lockheed Martin to Open Mission Support Center in Mississippi to Increase Technology Services for Federal Customers

Lockheed Martin Mission Support CenterNew facility will employ up to 350 professionals; deliver critical technical services

JACKSON, Miss., April 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) announced today plans to open a new Mission Support Center in the Greater Jackson, Miss. area in September 2011 that will create up to 350 new jobs and provide diverse technology services for its federal customers.

The opening of a new Mission Support Center in the Greater Jackson area establishes Lockheed Martin’s Gulf Coast Technology Hub and increases the Corporation’s presence in the state. Lockheed Martin currently has existing operations in Biloxi, Stennis and Vicksburg, and has held annual IT events at the Jackson Convention Center as part of its commitment to developing partnerships with the local community. The new facility will work with Lockheed Martin’s existing East Coast and West Coast Technology Hubs in Rockville, Md. and Altadena, Calif. to offer enhanced technology capabilities such as cloud computing, business continuity and disaster recovery services.

“The state of Mississippi offers the right workforce and facility to create a world-class operation that will deliver enhanced technology services and best value to customers,” said Linda Gooden, Executive Vice President, Lockheed Martin Information Systems & Global Solutions. “We very much appreciate the assistance we’ve received from Rep. Bennie Thompson (MS-02) and the Mississippi Development Authority, and we’re confident that their continued support will facilitate our ability to quickly hire the professional workforce necessary to staff our technology services operation.”

Lockheed Martin will begin recruiting technical and customer-service-oriented candidates for the new Mission Support Center in May 2011. The Corporation plans to host job fairs in the Greater Jackson area and will advertise available positions on www.lockheedmartinjobs.com.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 126,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation’s 2010 sales from continuing operations were $45.8 billion.

Economic Development Conferences: Expense or Investment?

Posted by jaynehrkorn in Chamber Life

Budgets are tight, and shelling out dollars to send executives to conferences might be a hard sell to many chamber boards right now. Some may see travel costs for conferences and visits as an unnecessary expense in this information age, but according to one site selection professional and public incentives expert we spoke with, face-time with other decision makers is much more valuable than you might think.

A recent discussion with Jason Hickey, of the Hickey & Associates consulting firm, about the site selection process led us to the topic of marketing venues for economic development agencies. Along with other important activities like maintaining a top-notch website and distributing materials, Hickey stressed that meeting in person and establishing relationships is also an important part of bringing new businesses to town.

“Making sure that site selectors and companies have that information top of mind – like knowing that X community is focusing on bio-science if I’m a bio-science company – that could definitely be helpful, but I can tell you that site selectors and companies get inundated with a lot information,” Hickey said. “Our firm is a little unique because we take that and actually collect it and put it into a database, which is a little bit different than most folks do. We like to trend the happenings of different economic development activity, what’s going on now to hopefully trying to predict what will be going on in the future.”

Hickey explained that while they capture the data that comes to them through newsletters, updates, announcements, and web research, what they really appreciate is the chance to spend time with the people they could potentially be working with on behalf of their clients.

“It sets people apart, the better website and the more information you have there, but nothing beats face to face. Even with all of this technology – email and cell phones – we’re still very relationship-based, and so conferences are the best venue. They’re definitely the most cost effective for economic development and chamber entities, because you’ve got a venue with a whole bunch of companies and consultants like us in the same room.

“The two largest ones are CoreNet and the Industrial Asset Management Council (IAMC). Those match up economic development and chamber groups along with actual company representatives and folks like us who are representing companies as consultants. Then there are some smaller ones, but just as important. Business Live Exchange is another one, Area Development Magazine puts on a venue, and there are some smaller ones that are mostly for economic development folks matching up with site selectors like us.”

Hickey points out that regional one and two day conferences and summits are also valuable venues that make both public and private sector decision makers accessible.

“Nowadays, for chambers and economic development agencies, you need to spend your dollars wisely, and at those venues you can keep in touch with as many people as possible for low cost,” he explained. “These are critical decisions for corporations large and small. Now more than ever they have to make sure they’re making the right investment and have the best planning both short and long term, so having these relationships with local people is extremely important because you get to know them and you build rapport with them over time… When company representatives can meet someone, even if it’s just over a cup of coffee, they’ll remember that interaction and it becomes part of their network. So those venues are important, and if a community can afford it, going to visit people in their offices is very valuable as well.”

http://communitylink.com/blog/2011/04/05/economic-development-conferences-expense-or-investment/#more-825