Growing Pains Slow Hamilton County Business Development

Jul 27, 2015

Hamilton County commissioners discuss a report on business retention from members of the Hamilton County Development Corporation.
Credit Bill Rinehart / WVXU

The vice president of the Hamilton County Development Corporation says a 2014 survey of companies found two impediments to keeping local businesses. 

But Harry Blanton also says both issues are growth related, and says those are good problems to have.

“One of the biggest issues that we have is aging of existing facilities, (and) outgrowing existing older facilities," Blanton says. "We do have a strategy in place to try to create more sites for development in Hamilton County.  So that will be how we’ll try to address that issue.

“Some of the older buildings will probably get knocked down, and new buildings get built, so those things will happen through the market,” Blanton says.

Blanton presented the findings of the survey to Hamilton county commissioners Monday morning.

The second hurdle, according to Blanton, is that more than a third of the businesses surveyed in Hamilton County are having trouble finding qualified employees.  The survey found many of those jobs require advanced training.  But Blanton says the shortage of a highly skilled workforce is unlikely to chase employers away.

“It’s a problem that you’ll find all over the place, so it’s not like Hamilton County is unique in that situation," Blanton says. "Other counties and states have the same issue.  It’s more of a problem that we have to deal with as a nation." 

He says information technology, life sciences, and advanced manufacturing are the three areas with the greatest difficulties in finding qualified workers.