Strengthening Stark: A Movement

Thank you for joining the Strengthening Stark movement! Strengthening Stark is a collective effort to create alignment and coordination of the economic development efforts of more than two dozen entities working to advance economic growth and opportunity in Stark County.

Strengthening Stark is guided by a Governance Committee, which consists of volunteers, many of whom represent the entities that support or perform economic development activities. The Governance Committee supports the development of strategies, initiatives and projects to transform Stark County into a larger, younger and more prosperous community.

2019 Recap

Over the course of last year, Strengthening Stark narrowed its focus to three main objectives: develop strong businesses ( Business Growth) , develop a strong talent pool ( Talent Development) and develop a strong sense of place ( Quality Places) . Narrowing our economic development efforts will generate better, more strategic results.

As we reflect on 2019's efforts to make Stark County more economically competitive, the following highlights come to mind:

Business Growth
Strategies to help grow and expand Stark County businesses

  • Launched Stark Business 911, a central portal for Stark County businesses to help them identify, understand and access services and resources for their business needs. 
  • Identified five targeted industries that have significant growth potential in Stark County: 1) Metals Manufacturing 2) Food Manufacturing 3) Petrochemicals 4) Hospitality and Tourism 5) Digital Technology

Talent Development
Strategies to bring awareness and preparation for jobs that offer a pathway to prosperity

Quality Places
Strategies to make the county a more attractive place to live and visit

  • Teamed up with Visit Canton to create a series of videos that highlight Stark County's vibrancy.
  • Partnered with the Stark County Auditor’s Office to pilot Stark Strong Neighborhoods, an interactive, data-driven map that breaks down communities by varying layers of information such as bus routes and bus stops, child care facilities and open jobs. Viewing neighborhoods in this way can help local leaders identify their community's needs and opportunities.

2019 Strengthening Stark Week

From October 21-25, the Stark County community celebrated all things economic development during the inaugural Strengthening Stark Week. The week included a governance overview breakfast, innovation panel discussion , job fair , grant writing workshop, chamber consortium networking event and community conversations .

2020 Goals

As part of our 2020 business retention and expansion plan , we plan to meet with every township and village in Stark County because we want economic development to work for everyone in the county, not just those living in the most populated areas. Other 2020 goals include securing federal funding to develop opportunity zones, upgrading major entrances into the county and more.

We're Hiring!

Strengthening Stark is seeking a project manager, preferably with experience working in community and economic development, to manage the day-to-day operation of Strengthening Stark. The deadline to apply is January 15.
Want to get involved? Let us know!

Contact us at (330) 453-562 8 or if you want to get involved. We would love to chat about how you can play a role in Strengthening Stark County.

Do you know others who would be interested in learning about Strengthening Stark? Encourage them to sign up to receive our monthly email updates!

Need a crash course in Strengthening Stark? The Canton Repository has you covered! Visit the Rep's website for a quick and easy to access page with links to every Strengthening Stark story written by the paper since the initial report was published in 2017.