"Big ideas” abound in Centre County. Innovation drives the economy – from Penn State University research-driven startups to business people embracing new approaches to operating in traditional industry sectors. Visionary thinking and pride in community are equally evident in State College and the Centre Region, and are leading to resurgence and reinvention in towns such as Bellefonte, Philipsburg and Millheim – and areas in between.
Collective “big picture,” foundational thinking is paramount to the success of these individual “big ideas.” Only if rooted in a healthy environment, can those planted truly grow and flourish. This understanding is what drives the Chamber of Business & Industry of Centre County’s collaborative economic, business and professional development mission.
At the most basic level, a supportive “big idea” environment means a having a strong local economy. To that end, we have a responsibility to take care of our own; to proffer a collective commitment to ensuring that Centre County businesses have what they need to compete and grow – from a workforce, operational, regulatory and general support perspective.
Partnerships are essential to effectively address the challenges that hold us back and embrace opportunities that will propel us forward as a county. Fortunately, this collaborative spirit also abounds in Centre County.
For example, the CBICC-led “DRIVE Forward” initiative created a true community grassroots effort to help state and federal officials secure funding for a major transportation infrastructure project – a high-speed I-99/I-80 interchange – that will benefit commerce, tourism and the motoring public.
Our visionary CentreREADY workforce preparedness initiative is bringing together all of Centre County’s five public school districts and two career/technical training institutions to address the specific workforce needs of local and area employers.
Partnering with the Central Pennsylvania Convention and Visitors Bureau, newly formed task forces will explore air service enhancements and the possibilities presented by agri-tourism. Additionally, the CBICC will soon launch a countywide initiative to address the critical needs of municipal and county governments in finding engaged citizens to serve on authorities, boards and commissions.
The CBICC and its business, academic, government and community partners are proud to undertake this essential foundational work, and in the process, are fulfilling a vision for what Centre County can be – a place where individual big ideas can thrive!