force development at her Exton area packaging company where 80 people work.
“A good portion of our workforce will be retiring in the next five years,” she said, noting the need for new workers at the manufacturer.
The council last year started a “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing” video contest to interest area high school students in the field. This year, the program will be done at the middle school level to put manufacturing on students’ radar screens earlier as a career choice.
Chris Curtin of Eclat Chocolate in West Chester told the crowd that a loan through the development council helped him expand from 1,200 square feet to 4,000 square feet.
“We’re keeping our home in Chester County,” he said.
Russ Daniels and John Hensman of HomeNet Automotive noted that the software maker is in a hiring
mode and needs people with technical backgrounds. The company makes software that allows care dealers to update photos of their inventory on their websites.
Daniels noted that area universities such as West Chester help their recruiting process.
In the area of infrastructure support, Jim Horn, president and CEO of TriM Group, the Kennett-area electrical contractor, said the Route 1 Corridor Initiative he co-chairs is making progress as it puts in place the elements for development in southern Chester County.
A land development committee is meeting with communities in that area of the county to find out what their goals are, an open space committee is meeting and a website is being developed, Horn reported.
Some highlights from the development council as touted in its annual report:
• SEEDCOPA facilitated more than $60 million in project funding that will produce 275 jobs over three years;
• 7,532 individuals and
1,082 companies participated in council workforce initiatives;
• 3,648 young people participated in career exploration activities;
• 23 companies participating i2n received more than $2 million in tax credits, $81.8 million in revenues were reported by i2n companies and 115 new jobs were created through the program;
• 48 projects representing $68.7 million in grant funding came under management;
• Five delegations from China visited Chester County to explore business connections and opportunities;
• $1,685 pounds of food was donated to area food banks;
• Gary Smith, the council’s president and CEO, celebrated his 40th anniversary.
On the web: http://ccedcpa. com
To contact Business Editor Brian McCullough, call 610-235-2655 or send an email to bmccullough@ dailylocal.com.