OCEDC website remains vital to county

Kiana Johnson, the O’Brien County Economic Development Corporation’s executive director, speaks to the board of supervisors on Aug. 27. She highlighted a couple of parts of her organization’s website, www.obriencounty.com.

PRIMGHAR—Kiana Johnson wants to remind people about the O’Brien County Economic Development Corporation’s website.

Johnson, the organization’s executive director, spoke to the board of supervisors on Aug. 27 in Primghar about OCEDC’s online home, www.obriencounty.com.

The Primghar-based organization’s website includes a new “Career Day” tab that features video highlights from past O’Brien County Career Days.

“They’re really neat,” Johnson said. “The videos turned out great.”

The board members watched the videos, which impressed supervisor Dan Friedrichsen.

“It’s pretty neat stuff,” he said.

Johnson has met with representatives of Associated Milk Producers Inc. about including the company’s cheese-making location in Sanborn in the fourth annual O’Brien County Career Day next year.

“They are kind of restricted as far as doing tours within the building, but their idea is to do something focusing on transportation and the lab,” Johnson said. “We would be able to watch the trucks come in and how they unload the milk.

“That would capture a whole other industry that we haven’t focused on yet, but it is really important,” she said. “Then we’d be able to go see the lab and what happens to the milk when it comes in. We would be able to do a physical tour with them.”

The third annual O’Brien County Career Day earlier this year featured four high schools, 13 business tours and about 300 students.

Sophomores from Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn, MMCRU, Sheldon and South O’Brien high schools took part in the event on April 26.

“When we first started, we met with the high school counselors,” Johnson said. “It was a consensus among them to focus on the sophomores.

“You can’t wait until they’re seniors,” she said. “We needed to start hitting them a little earlier, so they thought the sophomore age was the perfect year.”

Johnson has been pleased by the number of companies taking part in O’Brien County Career Day each year.

“We’ve had a lot of excellent participation and support from the businesses,” she said. “That’s really important, too, that they can see that we understand there’s a need for people and workforce is critical. Whatever we can do to try and help them, we’re working on it.”

Johnson said that the first committee meeting to discuss preparations for next year’s O’Brien County Career Day will be held on Thursday, Sept. 12.

“It’s been just wonderful — the response that we get, especially the students’,” she said.

Johnson highlighted another part of OCEDC’s website, focusing on the “Available Properties” tab.

“This is a great resource for anybody who’s looking for property,” she said. “It’s part of the LocationOne Information System; it’s a nationwide database.”

That part of her organization’s website allows site selectors or real estate agents to search for buildings or properties with specific details.

“It will bring up those properties that meet those specs,” Johnson said. “How it works is, if somebody has a property or a site, they contact me. We have a template they have to complete. Then I post the information.”

Johnson noted a recently added feature on OCEDC’s website called “Heat Maps.”

“If you like statistics and data, you can find it here,” she said. “You can pull reports regarding population, migration, total households. It’ll populate that information for you. It is pretty cool.”

Johnson reiterated that she just wanted to let the supervisors know about the property part of her organization’s website.

“It’s free marketing for available sites, buildings — just to get the word out there and let people know that we can do this,” she said. “Just contact me. We can get it up on the site.”

Sidebar to the story has been updated to reflect current membership of Northwest Iowa Development.