Without question, COVID-19 has presented many challenges in our regional economic development efforts. Despite that, the Regional Growth Partnership continues with our mission to serve and provide information to existing businesses and work with companies from outside Ohio who are continuing to move forward with their relocation and site searches.
First, we assure the community that the RGP is following all COVID guidelines as set out by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, and that since the stay-at-home order, we have had regularly scheduled calls with JobsOhio to discuss state policy, current economic development tools and additional tools that may be needed to help our economy adapt during the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 has changed companies’ priorities and delayed several projects across Northwest Ohio. The RGP has maintained close contact with those current client companies, assisting them in understanding the potential benefits of new, aggressive programs put forth by JobsOhio. The RGP’s business development team has suspended all travel, but it’s continuing with market sector research to support several major new initiatives.
In the first quarter, the RGP reported the creation of 575 new jobs across Northwest Ohio, with capital investment exceeding $207 million. One of the more significant projects in Q1 was ConAgra’s $40 million investment to add a new production line at its Archbold plant, creating 100 new jobs. Church & Dwight in Fostoria is investing $38 million to support both a new laundry detergent and cat litter line. That project will add 60 new jobs.