Agencies search for economic solutions
Ensuring continued health care coverage and other human services is another.
Both are formidable tasks for a group of stakeholders that formed late last year to address the economic and social-economic losses in the local auto manufacturing sector.
Community Organizations Responding to Dislocation, a coalition of several area organizations, held a community workshop Monday so guests could hear what's available from a variety of state, federal and nonprofit agencies.
Representatives of 15 different agencies each spent a few minutes Monday generally describing programs, grants and other initiatives that could offer hundreds of millions of dollars to distressed areas such as Rock County.
The audience comprised representatives from municipalities, organizations, economic development entities and education.
"You can do this," said Ron Danowski of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. "Rock County can come out of this with stronger businesses that when it went in."
But it will take a lot of work, he said, adding that the area has already made a strong commitment to seek out and tap state and federal resources.
Other presenters noted that the recently passed federal stimulus legislation should make even more funding available to help areas such as Rock County create jobs
Community Organizations Responding to Dislocation has been working with the University of Michigan's Community Economic Adjustment Program. The Michigan group is funded through a U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration grant to work with communities impacted by auto industry changes.
Bob Borremans, executive director of the Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board, said the event generated healthy interest.
"We were available to make a lot of information available to a lot of people and agencies," he said. "That's the bottom line."
Borremans said efforts will be made to coordinate and track specific funding interests in order to avoid duplication.
Participants at Monday's session will be kept abreast of funding developments as they become available, he said.