There is excitement and energy happening in Butler County due to a focused effort in Butler County Growth Collaborative and progressive thought leaders behind the movement. The Butler County Growth Collaborative will harness resources to empower economic prosperity through the region by sharing information, modeling transparency and communicating effectively.
The investment in the Butler County region goes beyond brick and mortar, but also to support workforce development through customized and nationally acclaimed training programs in job search training, retaining and retooling a workforce to support and supply the necessary labor needed for expansion.
Mark Gordon, Executive Director of Butler Economic Development states, “We are excited about the business growth and employment opportunities in Butler County and surrounding areas and stand ready to meet future demands through investment in our infrastructure, training and the people that live, play and work in the region.”
According to Gordon, Butler County’s transportation hub intersects 3 interstate highway systems – I76 and I79 and I80. Butler County received a $20 million federal BUILD grant and studies are underway for the Gateway 228 project to connect Route 65 inland to 356 in Freeport. This connectivity will enhance growth across Beaver, Butler, and Allegheny counties. Transportation solutions for the workforce in need of public transportation to get to work are being tested through a pilot program called Last Mile Service. Through collaboration, this program is being developed with the Butler Transit Authority, CNG Busses and an agreement with the Alliance of Non-Profits.
Butler County runs deep in heritage and roots. Agricultural business representing over 6,200 acres of farmland have been preserved allowing future generations of farmers to be able to work the land.
There is more manufacturing businesses in Butler County than any other county in the state. As an example, manufacturers along the route 228 corridor generated in excess of $28 billion dollars associated with products produced and shipped around the state, country and globally, from Butler County. A unique example… Butler Technologies, partnering with Ralph Lauren, supplied the exterior garments to control the temperature for the Olympians.
What do transportation and manufacturing mean without a trained and skilled workforce? That’s where collaboration with Butler County Community College – the top community college in the state comes into play.
Lisa M. Campbell, Dean of Workforce Development, Butler County Community College states that by working with various businesses and manufacturers throughout the region the college provides market-relevant training across a variety of disciplines. By offering certificate programs, and hands-on training to provide the necessary skills to meet the demands of business, the community college is poised to further develop partnerships and programs with other educational institutions and training facilities.
Jay Grassel, left, a student in Butler County Community College’s manufacturing pre-apprenticeship certificate program, left, watches instructor John Duncan set up a mill in the manufacturing lab on BC3’s main campus in Butler Township
Campbell further identified a new initiative that is a collaboration between the County government, local agencies, and community partners. The new Empowerment Initiative has a mission is to create a County-wide culture of Empowerment utilizing an evidence-based model that supports and connects people who are employment challenged, their agencies/intermediaries, and employers to achieve successful employment outcomes for all. Butler County Community College is proud to be one of the supporting community partners to provide individuals a second chance in life.
Butler County Community College is positioned to work toward the betterment of its residents in helping the county grow by creating new programming to meet the changing needs in the county.
Penn United Technologies, an assembly facility provides in-house training in manufacturing for its own staff as well as trainees from other companies. Slippery Rock University began offering an engineering program in recent years, providing petroleum, civil, and mechanical engineering courses. Steamfitters Local 449 is home to a new 75,000 square foot training facility in Harmony that is currently training over 350 apprentices in a variety of disciplines.
Though much work remains to integrate and empower economic prosperity throughout Butler County and the surrounding regions, it is our vision to make effective enhancements throughout the county by working together. The passion of its residents, the cooperation of its communities and the power of its region will empower leadership through communication, stewardship, and responsibility.
Although Butler County may appear rural, the rapid growth and development in a variety of fields are creating diversification across many industries. Butler County is making its mark on the region as a great affordable place to live, work and play.