Enterprise Center celebrates firsts graduates

ANGOLA — The first class of welders and CNC machinists has graduated from training at the Enterprise Center, 907 S. Wayne St.

Steuben County Economic Development Corp. Executive Director Isaac Lee said each class had eight students participate.

“The welding class saw eight students, with seven graduating,” Lee said. “Each of the graduates received a 50-cent raise at work.”

The classes for these students were funded, in part, by an Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs grant.

During the SCEDC meeting Tuesday, Lee also announced Steuben County as one of the top 25 digital economic development organizations in North America.

This distinction was given during the International Economic Development Council annual meeting earlier this month in Toronto.

In a news release, it says the top digital 25 list reflects organizations that best use digital technology to differentiate their communities online and to better serve businesses.

The recognition comes from Community Systems, a company that develops websites and software to foster economic growth and tourism in communities across globally. The Digital 25 recognition is based on results from an annual survey of over 400 EDOs, analyzing how they use digital technology to drive growth and support community businesses.

“By using analytics of social media, website traffic and our CRM; these are allowing us to spend less time finding the right person to build the relationship and more time actually building the relationship! Using data to develop insight on who’s looking at our area and what information they search for, this is helping us to be better prepared for the Request for Information phase of what is Economic Development,” said Lee in the survey submitted for the Digital 25 recognition.

In a finance committee update, board Secretary Hitesh Patel discussed the SCEDC budget for 2017 to date, and said the corporation itself is right on track.

“The EDC is on track,” he said. “The Enterprise Center is still unknown.”

Revenue for the center depends on classroom revenue, rent revenue and other revenues created by facilities use.

Patel said the classrooms and fees, if they can come together, can bring the center into the black.

The committee’s goal for the next corporation meeting is to present a 2018 budget, with possible approval in November.