BIZ REV: Clarion County Economic Development Corp.

Jarred Heuer and Jess Funk are new at the helm at the Clarion County Economic Development Corp. Heuer is executive
director and Funk is an economic development specialist.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on economic development in Clarion, but that does not mean there was not progress reported.

“In 2021, we were still in the midst of COVID,” said Jarred Heuer, the new executive director of the Clarion County Economic Development Corp.

“It is sometimes difficult to differentiate between 2020 and 2021 as far as COVID is concerned. We developed our strategic plan. Conversations on it started back in 2019,” Heuer said.

“We had started with consultations with Delta Development and we were able to release that at the end of 2021,” he said.

“We are excited about that because it will provide us with a 10-year road map. We can tap into over the course of the next seven to eight years,” said Heuer.

The strategic plan is made up of six goals. They include workforce development, tourism promotion, sites and communities, housing, infrastructure and branding of the county through promotions. Local partnerships are important, Heuer said.

“The Clarion Hospital and Clarion University are two major anchors in Clarion County. We need to partner with them closely to make sure they thrive,” Heuer said.

The CCEDC office is located at the university and that is no accident, according to Heuer. “We want to be close, especially with the university transitioning. We want to be able to champion all of the good things that come from that,” he said.

The CCEDC is a non-profit entity that is not directly affiliated with the county. “We work in conjunction with the county, on behalf of the county and on the behalf of county businesses,” Heuer pointed out. One of CCEDC’s purposes is business attraction. Heuer said the agency wants to “be the first line that businesses talk to about sites or the possibility of expanding here.”

“We advertise the best qualities about Clarion County to attract business to the county,” he said.

“Moving into 2022, we want to ramp up our efforts and find opportunities to make Clarion County more visible on the national map,” said Heuer. “That is one of our focuses.” Broadband is a key development tool, he said. “Broadband has been recognized as a utility rather than a commodity. “In 2022, broadband development will be our top priority. Broadband needs have been around and COVID just highlighted those challenges,” said Heuer.
Randy Bartley