Oceola Township has renewed its commitment to the partnership between the Livingston County Economic Development Council and Ann Arbor SPARK.

Ann Arbor SPARK Vice President for Business Development Phil Santer, and Director of Business Development in Livingston County Marcia Gebarowki, delivered a presentation to the Oceola Board of Trustees, Thursday night. Due to an oversight, Oceola Township didn’t sign into a new 3-year contract with SPARK last year, but paid for their support anyway. Gebarowski updated Oceola officials on how their work of helping businesses prosper has been going, and where they see the future taking them. She said that while in the past, much of what they have done is to attract businesses to the region, now they are in a place where they can spend more of their efforts reinforcing those businesses. With an aging workforce in the area, a big priority has been to train new talent and work with existing talent to raise their skill sets.

Gebarowski said they are also expanding Manufacturing Day in the schools. This year they are opening it up to all 11th and 12th grade students in each of the county’s 5 school districts. For it students will have a chance to go on a field trip to an advanced manufacturing facility and observe a day in the life there.

Oceola Supervisor Bill Bamber said following the presentation, that while there isn’t a large industrial presence in the township, they do have residents that need work, and those residents need a place to live. The Board of Trustees was unanimously in favor of signing a 2-year contract to continue with services. This year they will offer roughly $10,500, with next year seeing a 1.2% increase. (MK)