Ray Hagerman, MHCEDC President
Fort Campbell Outreach
Jason Neumann is thinking about manufacturing, and now he and his family are thinking about Madisonville.
He is a soldier assigned to the 101st Airborne Division (air assault) at Fort Campbell who has served multiple combat tours overseas, and he retires from the U.S. Army in a few months.

He's thinking the manufacturing industry is where he might next apply his proven skills for computer-aided design and drafting and operational planning skills, and he is considering where to write this whole next chapter of his life.

But, of course, work and professional plans aren't the totality of Staff Sgt. Neumann's story. The Wisconsin native has a wife, Stephanie, and stepson, Christian, and they each have their own needs, interests and desires for their next home.

"What to consider in looking for a town to live in for relocating is a great question. I would say a good school for my stepson who is autistic -- having a good relationship with those teachers and their ability to handle stressful situations when dealing with students with those characteristics.

"I would also say that the local businesses that are in the area are important. I, for one, don't like to look at a catalog to order items; I want to actually go to the store and see it for myself. It's similar for job opportunities. I'm not looking to travel 45 minutes to an hour for work, when I might be working for 12 hours or so."

These were the kinds of considerations weighing on Neumann when he and his family visited Madisonville for Military Day held on Flag Day, June 14: Could he imagine his stepson thriving in school here? Could he imagine himself, Stephanie and Christian being happy shopping, playing and going about life here? Could he imagine himself starting a new career here?

This was precisely the idea in putting together Madisonville Military Day -- to get people like Neumann and his family imagining Madisonville.

With the help of so many partners that it took us more than a week to write all of the thank-you notes, Madisonville-Hopkins County Economic Development brought to town active-duty military members who plan to exit in the next 12 months, as well as their loved ones, from Fort Campbell. They ate, they played, they met potential employers and neighbors, and they were among the guests of honor at the phenomenal Friday Night Live celebration downtown featuring the music of Tracy Lawrence and Joe Nichols. We gave them the special treatment for at least a couple of reasons. One, we're thankful for their service to our country. Two, we need their skills and work ethic in our town.

Madisonville is at a 15-year record for open jobs, and our employers are struggling mightily to find the talent they need in those positions. Economic development has organized two job fairs in the first half of this year, and both had hundreds more available jobs than they attracted job seekers.
Studies show that people with military experience tend to have a high rate of civilian work success, and so we see Fort Campbell as a crucial pipeline of talent for our community's prosperity. And we saw Madisonville Military Day as a great start to tapping into that talent.

Certainly, we learned a lot along the way. In collaborating with Fort Campbell's Transition Assistance Program and United Services Organization, for example, we learned that the opening of I-69 has made Madisonville more appealing to a family in which one person might be commuting to and from work in the last months while a spouse remains on active duty.

We learned about the kinds of support services that families might be looking for, in terms of behavioral-health and community-college offerings, for example. We learned about the kinds of new businesses that retired military families might introduce to our community (anyone interested in local Hawaiian or German restaurants?).
We learned about the opportunities on post for ongoing connection between our employers and job seekers there, and we learned about the assistance our companies might need in helping interpret military resumes for civilian job offerings.

And what did Neumann and his family learn about Madisonville?
"What appealed to my family and me was the closeness of all the people we interacted with," he said. "Everyone that we met was very nice and knowledgeable. I know my stepson was thrilled about the virtual-reality gaming at The Ledge. There was a pool, mini golf and parks all centrally located within Madisonville. Mayor (Kevin) Cotton went the extra mile to make my stepson feel very special and to include all of us. It was a good atmosphere that our family was presented."

Ray Hagerman is president of the Madisonville-Hopkins County Economic Development Corporation ( https://www.westcentralky.com ), which promotes and recruits commercial enterprises that offer quality jobs and encourages expansion and retention of existing businesses.
Ruthann Padgett, Vice President of Operations
We are very excited to bring be offering the Kauffman FastTrac Business Planning Program at the Innovation Station. FastTrac offers some wonderful opportunities to assist in taking your business from Idea to Launch. The best part is that this program is FREE to all entrepreneurs.

FastTrac participants learn how to evaluate their ideas, position their businesses around target customers, refine their companies based on personal and professional goals and ultimately, launch their business. Through an immersive online course, participants have access to planning tips and exercises, including lessons on how to:

  • Discover how your business concept matches your personal vision.
  • Align your business concept with a real market opportunity.
  • Find your target market and discover your competitive advantage.
  • Determine the unique features and benefits of your product/ service.
  • Set realistic financial goals for your business.
  • Define your company’s brand and marketing.
  • Manage business functions and develop an organizational culture.
  • Determine the steps to profitability.
  • Identify potential sources of funding for your business.
  • Launch your business.

The new FastTrac offering removes financial and travel barriers for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to learn at their own pace and online or at the Innovation Station. For those who want the help of an experienced facilitator,  affiliate-led courses  are available and offered in the style that suits the entrepreneur’s needs: online, in a classroom with peers or in a blended setting. The program continues to grow its network of affiliate organizations offering FastTrac.

Classes will begin in the Fall of 2019.

Wage & Benefit Study 2019
Available until 7/31/19.
Compensation surveys are particularly valuable resources in times such as these—when companies face stiff competitive pressure to find and land top talent, when technology and business innovation are leading to the creation of whole new job roles and when business growth in one industry sector is leading to development of new related market opportunities within the same geographic region. Indeed, all of these things are occurring simultaneously here, and so Madisonville-Hopkins County Economic Development’s 2019 Wage and Benefits Survey comes at an opportune time.

Please participate! The input we gather through the survey can help a business more strategically set its compensation levels or identify and capitalize on trends in benefits such as paid time off, insurances and professional-development opportunities.

To participate in the online survey, watch for EDC’s email appeal to area industry or click below. In order to receive survey results, participants must identify their company affiliations, though the company names will not be included with the wage and benefits data in the report. Results will be organized by industry category.
Hopkins County 1 Million Cups meets the first Wednesday of each month at 7:30 am

Join us at
Kentucky Innovation Station
38 W. Arch Street
Madisonville-Hopkins County
Economic Development Corporation| Website

Contact Us:
(270) 821-1939
Ray Hagerman, President - rhagerman@westcentralky.com
Ruthann Padgett, VP Operations - rpadgett@westcentralky.com
Melanie Tapp, Business Relationship Director - mtapp@westcentralky.com