OCRA Executive Director Talks Motivation, Economic Factors in Pulaski Co.

OCRAKonyhaThe head of Indiana’s Office of Community and Rural Affairs is helping Pulaski County’s business and government leaders better understand the direction the county is heading.

The Pulaski County Community Development Commission hosted its annual Economic Development Summit in Winamac on Tuesday evening. Invited keynote speaker Bill Konyha addressed the group on topics such as motivating individuals within organizations as well as the data OCRA uses to evaluate Pulaski County’s economic indicators.

“I would like to point out that currently the state’s unemployment rate is 4.4-percent – which is lower than the national average and lower than basically all of the states that surround us,” says Konyha. “All of the industrial states. I would like to point out that as of now, there are more Hoosiers working than at any time since 2007.”

Besides addressing several of the programs offered through OCRA such as the Main Street Program and Stellar Communities, Konyha emphasized the department’s goals.

Among those goals is preparing rural communities for the investment and business expansion that is aided by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, according to Konyha.

Tuesday night’s discussion, however, also identified four areas that residents and businesses find important for economic growth. Those categories included assessed valuation, population trends, educational attainment, and incomes.

Konyha says educational attainment is important due to changing economic times.

“A lot of people who had manufacturing jobs, very good people who had skills that were very appropriate for the 20th century, their skills do not translate to the 21st century,” says Konyha.

Pulaski County sees its property values increasing, but like most of the state is experiencing a population decline. Income levels are mirroring state levels, but Konyha noted that Indiana is behind the nation in general.

The Pulaski County CDC provided its State of the County Economy Address. WKVI will have additional details on Thursday.