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Thu, Sept. 19

Wage and benefits study underway in the county

A wage and benefits study is currently underway in Yavapai County.

The Chino Valley Area Chamber of Commerce, City of Prescott's Economic Development and the Prescott Valley Economic Development Foundation are sponsoring the study on the west side of the county.

CV chamber CEO Ab Jackson said the entities are using $15,000 of a $50,000 Yavapai County Industrial Development Authority Grant for regional economic development to pay for the study.

Gary Marks, PVEDF executive director, said his organization has done a workforce study every two years for the western part of the county. Pathfinders, out of Dallas, Texas, is doing the study. It is also doing the same study in the Verde Valley. Marks expects the study to take six to eight weeks.

Once Pathfinders completes the study, he said, the three entities will receive a workforce available report, and a wage and fringe benefits report for the Verde Valley and the western part of the county.

During his annual report to the Chino Valley Mayor's Economic Development Committee, Jackson said the chamber also used some of the grant money to send President Charlie Arnold to the Solar Power International Conference and Expo in Anaheim, Calif.

Jackson said before he came, the town gave the chamber a grant of $10,000-$15,000.

When he came, he asked for a $30,000 yearly contract with the town for work on economic development, business retention, business leakage, and training. Last year he gave customer service training, while this year he's teaching leadership training classes, which the chamber also can use.

Chamber achievements and activities during the past year, he said, include:

• Successfully lobbied the town council for a sign ordinance enforcement relaxation because of hardships caused by the Highway 89 widening project.

• A member of the Mayor's Safe Yield Committee.

• A member of the Mayor's Economic Development Committee.

• Participated in the Water Ordinance stakeholder meetings.

• In the process of creating a Chino Valley Economic Development Organizaton and a website.

• Jackson is a member of a board of directors of the Central Arizona Partners and the Prescott Area Coalition for Tourism. Arnold is a member of the executive board of both entities.

• Founding and board member of the Western Heritage Trails Association, a group formed to market communities on Highway 89 to the Grand Canyon.

• Met with 24 organizations or individuals connected with projects or potential projects in Chino Valley.

The chamber's business leakage and retention efforts and successes during 2009, include:

• Getting permission from the Arizona Department of Transportation to put banners up across Highway 89 in Chino Valley promoting upcoming events.

• Published the chamber's first lodging and dining guide. The chamber is currently revising and reprinting it.

• Created the "You've Been Visited" Program. Under this program chamber members leave a business card at businesses that says a chamber member has visited it .

• Came up with a "Doing Business in Chino Valley" folder with material for business prospects.

• Sponsored the Home, Health and Business Expo. It had 60 exhibitors.

• Sponsoring Chino Valley Hometown Christmas this Friday and Saturday. He expects 50 exhibitors.

• Created "This Is Home Chino Valley" license plates.

• Scheduled the second printing of its Opportunity's Knocking Program, which the chamber uses as an economic development folder.

• Had 15 sponsors for the chamber's Enhancement Program.

• Village Profile of Chicago is doing a second printing of the community map.

• Working on a Chino Bucks program.

• Started the Business Educator's Breakfast. The four quarterly meetings had good speakers and good attendance of business people and educators.

• Sponsored the Drake Cement Plant and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, board orientation through Chino Valley, and the solar expo trips.

• Helped establish Chino Valley eNews.

• Helped recruit KDDL radio to move to Chino Valley.

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