CLINTON — The Clinton Regional Development Corporation kicked off its Future Focused 2024 fundraising campaign Thursday as it seeks investors to spur workforce development, business expansion and recruitment.

As part of the kickoff, the CRDC unveiled its first pledge report, announcing that investors already have pledged more than $1.08 million for the creation of Future Focused 2024’s $2.5 million five-year budget.

Pledges from both the private sector and public entities will go toward Future Focused 2024’s goals to create 500 jobs, see capital investment of $100 million, bring 300 new workers into the area, create worker training grants for 250 workers and introduce career and STEM exploratory opportunities to students.

Among the goals, workforce development has been identified as the number one priority for growing the region, according to CRDC President and CEO Erin Cole.

“Our challenge over the next five years is to develop and market talent attraction tools that will draw more skilled workers into the region, while improving local programming for existing employees and students,” CRDC officials wrote in plan materials presented to attendees.

The five key elements to workforce development include:

  • working with local companies and Clinton Community College to address training needs ranging from short-term certificate programs to hands-on technical training and apprenticeships.
  • forming a Human Resources Task Force to identify common workforce issues, access available programs and services and implement new solutions.
  • supporting the establishment of a Career Technical Education Center in Clinton County in cooperation with Clinton Community College and area school districts.
  • organizing career awareness activities for students, parents and teachers to acquaint them with the range of industries and job opportunities in the Greater Clinton Region.
  • using the CRDC value visits, gathering feedback from employers about existing workforce programs/facilities and providing the information to workforce partners and training managers.

Workforce attraction also is a priority, said Cole, who pointed to the Home Base Iowa and student loan payback assistance programs as two strategies to bring workers to the area.

Home Base Iowa provides incentives to veterans who choose to move into Clinton County. In 2017, three veterans moved to Clinton County through the program; that number grew to seven in 2018 and to 20 so far for 2019, Cole said. Using the program as a marketing tool nationwide is among the CRDC’s plans.

CRDC officials in the coming months will meet with businesses and also attend municipality budget sessions as they work to reach the $2.5 million goal.

Mike Johnson speaks at Clinton Regional Development Corp. fundraising launch

Mike Johnson speaks at the Clinton Regional Development Corp.’s fundraising launch Thursday at Eagle Point Lodge, Clinton.