The Center for Economic Growth (The Center) is giving individuals, living in a historically impoverished rural community, an opportunity for economic stability and wealth creation. Because of generous donations like these, critical services will continue to be provided to Bourbon County and City of Fort Scott residents and businesses free of charge. The Center provides expertise, business planning, financial projections, training and more with a focus on low to moderate-income, minority, woman-owned, or food-related business.
Economic stability represents an individual’s ability to access resources such as food, housing or healthcare, as well as creating a healthy business culture to help an employer attract and retain talent, reduce absenteeism and turnover, and improve productivity. “Since 2016, we have focused intently on our mission to enhance the quality of life and encourage economic growth in individuals,” Jody Hoener, President and CEO of The Healthy Bourbon County Action Team, “Through this collaboration, we are increasing access to employment and entrepreneurship in a population that has lacked upward mobility in employment opportunities and access to capital.”
The Center for Economic Growth has an array of state, regional, and local partnerships that include: The Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce, PSU Small Business Development Center (PSU SBDC), Southeast KANSASWORKS, Fort Scott Community College, and BAJA Investments. “I am constantly impressed with how well each entity works together,” Dacia Clark, Assistant Director, PSU SBDC says, “This collaboration benefits our clients as a one-stop-shop for services. Because of The Center, Bourbon County is ahead of the pack and significantly contributing to our regional goals.” Through the Blue Cross Blue Shield Pathways to Healthy Kansas Grant, The Center has access to even more expertise and resources right at their fingertips.
According to Smart Growth America, in today’s world business growth is driven by collaboration among many types of entities, private companies, universities, and others, that must interact frequently and work together creatively. “UMB is excited to support the creative and innovative efforts of The Center for Economic Growth. We hope that our contribution will make a difference in the lives of individuals in our community.” Crystal Maddox, UMB Senior Vice President-Commercial Lender.
The Center is located in the Historic Downtown Fort Scott in the upstairs of 17 South Main Fort Scott KS. It is a “one-stop-shop” for business, employment, food, telework, and distance learning needs. Current businesses, and those looking to start a business, have a physical location to meet with a person. Additionally, services are available for those seeking employment, developing soft skills (i.e. interviewing), or other job-seeking assistance. Businesses are encouraged and welcome to contact Southeast KANSASWORKS to see how they can connect with those looking for employment.
An overview of services The Center provides Bourbon County:
• WORKERS & FAMILIES:
o Distance Learning and Telework Space
o Unemployment & Job Seeking Assistance
o Increasing Access to Healthy Food
o Building Capacity for Local Food Assistance
• ADDRESSING CHILDCARE:
o Relief in Fulfilling Educational Requirements for Centers
o Incentives for Becoming a Legal Childcare Provider
• BUSINESS TOOLS & TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE:
o Getting Businesses Online via new Websites & Social Media
o Loans & Grants
o Special COVID Programs & Resources
Find us on social media! On Facebook, Instagram and Twitter #healthybbco
Background of The Healthy Bourbon County Action Team:
The Healthy Bourbon County Action Team is a Blue Cross Blue Shield Pathways to Healthy
Kansas Community. Its mission is to increase access to healthy food and physical activity,
promote commercial tobacco cessation, enhance quality of life and encourage economic
growth. The problems of health inequity and social injustice are complex in nature and
inextricably linked to key economic indicators. A healthy workforce is a prerequisite for
economic success in any industry and in all cities.
Jody Hoener, President and CEO
The Healthy Bourbon County Action Team, Inc
Mary Hunt, Interim Operations Director
Dacia Clark, Assistant Director, PSU SBDC
Lindsay Madison, President and CEO, The Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce