Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - BUSINESS -

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.

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