Northeast Ohio Economy Improving Team Northeast Ohio (Team NEO), the regional economic development attraction group, released its quarterly report of economic indicators for the sixteen county region. Team NEO has released the economic report four times a year since 2005. Team NEO’s researchers used data from Moody’s Economy.com, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Ohio Labor Market Information databases, and other sources that indicate a recovery is underway in Northeast Ohio. Among the findings are the following: the number of employed workers increased 2.1 percent to an average of 1.91 million workers for January to March of this year compared to 1.87 million for the same period in 2010; the unemployment rate for the 16 county region declined to 9 percent in March; the 16 county area’s real gross regional product, which is the value of goods and services produced adjusted for inflation, increased 1.9 percent to $172 billion in 2010, and Moody’s forecasts the regions GRP will rise 2.5 percent in 2011 to over $176 billion. To read more about the recovery, click on this Canton Repository article; to read the complete report, click here.

University of Mount Union Receives a Grant Valued at $24.1 Million Engineering students at the University of Mount Union will soon benefit from an enriched educational experience through an in-kind software grant from Siemens PLM Software, a business unit of the Siemens Industry Automation Division. The in-kind software grant with a commercial value of $24.1 million is the largest in-kind corporate contribution received in Mount Union’s 165 year history. The software grant, which includes training and specialized software certification programs, will supplement the curriculum of Mount Union’s four-year undergraduate majors in civil engineering and mechanical engineering. Dr. Richard F. Giese, president of Mount Union, had this to say: “Thanks to the generosity of Siemens PLM Software, we will integrate this modern engineering tool into the curriculum as our faculty continues to develop innovative programs in civil engineering and mechanical engineering. There is no better way to prepare our students for their future careers than exposing them to one of the best engineering design software systems available.” Mount Union joins other leading institutions that have partnered with Siemens PLM Software including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of California at Berkeley, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Purdue University, Rutgers University, Michigan State University and Carnegie Mellon as well as the University of Cincinnati in the state of Ohio. To read more about this software grant, click on this Canton Repository article; to understand what this grant will mean to the engineering program at Mount Union, click on Mount Union’s press release.

Stark State To Share Millions of Dollars from Gates Foundation Stark State College is among a group of Ohio colleges who will share millions of dollars to devise and share new approaches to help low-income students ages 16-26 obtain a degree, certificate or credential. Stark State College, Sinclair Community College and Lorain Community College were selected by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as part of its five year Completion by Design project. Completion by Design aims to build on proven, existing practices already underway at these forward-thinking community colleges, which are working to address the needs of today’s students. They are doing this by focusing on new approaches to areas such as course scheduling, advising and curriculum development. The Gates Foundation has committed $36 million to the initiative, over five years, divided among several community colleges in four states. To learn more about these grants, click on this Canton Repository article; or click on Stark State’s press release.

Shearer’s Foods Garners Two Awards Shearer’s Foods recently received two awards from food industry publications. Shearer’s was named 2011 Snack Food Manufacturer of the Year by Snack Food and Wholesale Bakery magazine. Also Shearer’s was honored with the 2011 Plant of the Year Award from Food Engineering magazine for its Millennium Manufacturing Facility in Massillon. This facility was the first LEED® Certified Platinum snack food manufacturing plant in the world. To learn more about Shearer’s Foods, click here.

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