HONESDALE—The Stourbridge Project – a collaborative economic development facility located off Park Street – announced a host of educational opportunities available for business professionals in the community.

“There's a people side to economic development. You can't look at advancing your county as far as infrastructure without looking at the people side of it,” said Wayne Economic Development Corporation – a Stourbridge Project Partner alongside the county Board of Commissioners – Executive Director Mary Beth Wood.

Dubbed “Business Essentials: A Networking and Training Seminar Series,” the program is organized by the Wayne Pike Workforce Alliance (WPWA) and looks to help local entrepreneurs and business owners develop a series of new skills including HR basics, sales strategies, research and development tax credits, brand building, engaging content building, and business plan formulation.

The program series also instructs businesses how to utilize the tax credits awarded by the Stourbridge Project's recent designation as a Keystone Innovation Zone (KIZ).

This new series will run each week from September 26 through November 14 of this year at no charge to attendees.

“Bringing jobs to a community is wonderful but unless you have the capacity and the people to fill those jobs, you have an issue,” said WPWA Executive Director Lucyann Vierling explained at a press conference held Thursday afternoon.

The executive director went on to mention the growing need to address worker age in both Wayne County and Pennsylvania as a whole.

Vierling stated a key focus needs to be on establishing a sense of “lifelong learning” and working with local school districts to instill not only a sense of quality workmanship within the student body and emerging graduates, but also to guide them toward available economic opportunities within the county.

A key to this found readily in the Stourbridge Project is the development of technological opportunities that both young and aging workers can utilize in existing or emerging industries.

“We need to … build capacity in people and that is through developing who is here and attracting [others] … because it is a wonderful place to live and to work and to learn,” said Vierling.

She added, “from there the goal is to have more collegiate programming … here within Wayne County.”

Aside from the new suite of business programming, the Stourbridge Project also offers instruction on 3D printing, programming classes for youths, and consultations from the University of Scranton's Small Business Development Center (SBDC).

There is also a Maker's group where innovators and inventors congregate to share ideas and workshop technological projects.

Other news from the Stourbridge Project will be presented in a future story.