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Wayne looks to foster local entrepreneurs

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WAYNE COUNTY, PA — Workforces around the globe are changing, and Wayne County’s is no exception, said Helene Mancuso of the Wayne Pike Workforce Alliance. In short, she sees the workforce getting younger.

Mancuso said that healthcare, tourism and governmental relations are the three primary employers in the county, which she said offers many young people entry-level jobs in these industries.

Beyond entry-level jobs, however, Wayne County is also experiencing a trend of younger entrepreneurs bringing new business ideas to the area.

“We are definitely seeing a push to more of a digital platform,” she said. “We’re trying to capture that entrepreneurial spirit.”

Capturing that spirit is just one goal of Wayne Tomorrow, a large group of community members from both the public and private sector, looking to ensure the county’s prosperity. The five main issues the group is looking at are agriculture, transportation, housing, community hubs and resource development.

The group’s impact can be seen in some of the projects and initiatives going on throughout the county right now: the Stourbridge Project, Wayne Memorial Hospital’s new G-Wing and the potential for a dairy processing plant in the area, to name a few.

Mancuso said that housing is specifically a key issue for the area’s young workforce, which is increasingly looking to rent homes instead of buying them.

“The average age of a first-time homeowner is in their 40s, whereas generations before, [buying a home] was the first thing that you tried to do,” she said. “And there aren’t a lot of places to rent in Wayne County.”

Fortunately for the workers of Wayne County, Mancuso said that the low unemployment rates are requiring employers to do more to reduce employee turnover.

“Businesses are starting to realize that they have to treat their workers with more respect, whether that be with flexible hours or higher pay,” she said. “Instead of onboarding new talent constantly, they’re trying to retain the talent they have.”

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