Another class of community leaders is about to begin a year-long course designed to help them lead Harrison County into the future.
The Leadership Harrison Class of 2001, consisting of 18 leaders in fields ranging from aviation to medical to entertainment, will begin the course in October. Through monthly workshops, the students will become better acquainted with the county's education system, emerging industries and government, said Mary Beth Aman, administrative director of the Harrison County Chamber of Commerce and a student in the program, which is entering its fourth year.
"We'll focus on things like education, economic development, city government and the medical field. In all, we'll look at six or seven different areas," Aman said. "When we look at education, we'll go to the board of education and see what's involved there, and go to United Technical Center."
Aman said she thinks participating in the program will help expose her to information that will be valuable to her work with the chamber.
"Once I get an overview of all the things that are going on in the county, I think I will be able to make better decisions and get more involved in the community," she said. "There are a lot of things you think you know but you don't, because things are always changing. It's a good program."
An important feature of the program is that it can expose participants to people who may not have a conspicuous public profile, yet play important roles in the private sector, said Vincent Cava, a branch manager with One Valley Bank.
"Some business leaders, especially those who aren't in retail or don't make a well known end product, might still employ a lot of people," Cava said. "It's important to be able to take back information on what other people are doing."
Another thing Cava hopes to gain from the program is insight on how the skills of young area residents can be better matched with high-tech employers the community is trying to attract.
"A lot of companies that provide technical services and technical training need skilled employees," he said. "If the community can provide them, it will help us keep young people from moving out."
Staff Writer Shawn Gainer can be reached at 626-1442 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org