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Ohio Community Action Impact; Jobs, Transportation and Much More

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Monday, May 21, 2012   

COLUMBUS, Ohio - May is Community Action Month, and Community Action Agencies (CAAs) in Ohio have a big effect on economic development in the state, according to a new study. Research from Ohio University found that in 2010, CAAs invested more than $200 million in community economic development projects, many of which are aimed at improving the state's employment outlook.

The WSOS Community Action Marine Mechanics Course is among them. Development director Kerrie Carte says the program, which trains workers and helps them find jobs, is providing an economic boost to the area.

"That program brings people from across the nation into our community; they're eating in our restaurants; they're staying in our hotels. The whole program has been very good for the community."

The study found that nearly 40 percent of all Community Action Agency funding goes toward economic development, with the majority designated to maintain workforce productivity. Currently, 50 Community Action Agencies serve every county in Ohio, helping residents attain self-sufficiency.

Also highlighted in the report are the ways Community Action Agencies successfully create public-private partnerships. One example is the Athens Hocking Perry Community Action GoBus, which uses private buses from Lakefront and Greyhound to offer low-cost transportation to Columbus, Cincinnati and Marietta.

Transportation manager Carolyn Conley says GoBus has opened the door to new opportunities for rural residents.

"Ohio University has commented that it has helped attain and retain students, keeping them in the area, because they have transportation options to go home or to visit friends and family in other places."

Another program noted in the report is the recycling center operated by Adams and Brown counties. Manager Dan Wickerham says a particularly successful component is the buy-back program, which allows residents to sell non-ferrous metals at the sites. Last year, residents received more than $1 million for the recyclable materials they brought in, he says.

"That's money circulating very closely, being used to pay the rent and buy groceries. The most common comment you hear from people is 'Well, this will buy a little bit of gas.' It's obvious that people are using this revenue for very basic necessities."

The report is available at www.oacaa.org.




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