New Venango County Commissioner Mike Dulaney Stresses Need for Trained Workforce

| January 14, 2020

FRANKLIN, Pa. (EYT) – Venango County Commissioner Mike Dulaney may be a new addition to the County Commission, but as a former Franklin City Council member and Executive Assistant of the Franklin Area Chamber of Commerce, he’s a familiar face to the community.

According to Dulaney, he knows many businesses around town and has first-hand knowledge of the needs of the county through his Chamber of Commerce and Council work.

He told exploreVenango.com that he’s familiar with what type of businesses would be a benefit to the county and what attracting those businesses would entail.

“I think one of the biggest issues that we have right now is the lack of a qualified workforce,” Dulaney said.

Dulaney says he remembers a county program in the mid-90s called “Invest.”

“It’s sole purpose was connecting businesses to workers. That’s something I would like to see brought back.”

According to Dulaney, the program was run out of Oil City and dissolved when the group running it was disbanded.

He would like to see that program come back, though it may not necessarily be a project that the county would run. It may better be suited for the Economic Development Authority or one of the Chambers of Commerce could administer.

“If the county’s not leading it, they could definitely be a partner in it,” Dulaney said.

One of the most significant increases in the Venango County budget this year came as the result of the county paying to house inmates in Butler County. Dulaney said that was, in part, due to a lack of a trained workforce.

“Some of that issue came, not necessarily because we have too many inmates, but also because of staffing issues,” he said. “We didn’t have enough workers in the jail. We didn’t have enough adequately trained guards.”

The jail is currently better staffed, and he thinks there will be less of a need to house inmates in Butler County in the future, according to Dulaney.

Dulaney considers his Chamber of Commerce experience as a plus when it comes to economic development.

“Everyone says we need to bring in more jobs to the area, and I’m not going to disagree with that,” he said. “But, another thing that we really need to focus on is workforce development.”

“I have members that have told me that they would hire 50 or 100 people right now if they could find the qualified people to fill those positions. It’s not necessarily a lack of jobs for people to do, some of it is a lack of trained people.”

Dulaney said many of those jobs tend to the manufacturing sector.

“These are not jobs for workers, right out of high school. These are workers that need some training.”

The county’s rural setting and beauty can be a plus for workers, as well as economics, Dulaney noted.

“The dollar goes a long way here; the cost of living is low.”

At 32 years of age, Dulaney will be the youngest member of the current commission. All three commissioners are under 40.


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Category: Local News