Commissioners Court to discuss OC EDC

Published 9:41 am Monday, September 10, 2018

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader


Orange County Economic Development Corporation (OC EDC) has shown an impact on Orange County during the 2017/2018 fiscal year and plans to continue moving forward in the coming year.

Between the years of 2003, when the corporation was formed and 2016, a project investment in Orange County were $812,000,000. In the past year, almost a quarter of that about was invested in Orange County.

“It was in part creating a business friendly environment here,” OC EDC Director Jessica Hill said.

Also, to aid businesses in Orange County in recovering from Hurricane Harvey, OC EDC distributed $200,000 in grants to small businesses in the county.

Hill continues to work on a retail strategy to bring in targeted retail companies in the clothing and accessories, home improvement, pet care and restaurants industries.

Currently the OC EDC is currently working on $5 billion dollars of projects in the pipeline, which has the potential to create over 800 jobs locally.

“These are just the ones we are currently working on with companies which have an interest in locating here,” Hill said.

In August, OC EDC and OC Independent School Districts announced that Junior High and Middle School campuses throughout Orange County are working together to ensure graduates are prepared for career opportunities in our area.

The “Texas Opportunity Zone” is a regional workforce development initiative that has been created as a way for business and local educational institutions to engage and support students participating in Texas21, a dynamic education and career planning curriculum developed by educators at Region 6 ESC in partnership with Rocket21. Orange County is the first Texas County to enroll all districts in the curriculum.

Texas21 offers students an engaging, immersive educational experience that guides them through an exploration of their interests and passions while helping them to create their Personal Graduation Plan in one of five Endorsement Areas, as required by Texas House Bill 5: Foundation High School Program. The program provides schools with an education and career planning solution aligned with Texas House Bill 18, Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for College and Career Readiness and Career Investigations at the 6-8 grade level.

With some schools offering it to 7th graders and the others to 8th graders, 1,200 students enrolled in the Texas 21 Career Pathways Initiative this year.

Orange County Commissioners Court will hold a Public Workshop at 10 a.m. Monday, Sept. 10 in the Commissioners Courtroom of the Orange County Administration Building located at 123 South 6th Street in Orange. The purpose of the workshop is to review and discuss membership and funding of the OC EDC.

At this time, there are five per capita, seven advisory and eight associate members.

The court will make a decision on the matter during the 2 p.m. Tuesday meeting of Commissioners Court.

The OC EDC was formed in 2003 to better serve the economic development needs of Orange County. The County of Orange, the Orange County Port and Navigation District and the Cities of Bridge City, Orange, Pinehurst, Vidor and West Orange realized the strengths gained by pooling resources to attract quality jobs and investments to Orange County. The Corporation is staffed by a full-time economic development professional and provides services to assist new and existing businesses expand or relocate to Orange County, according to it’s official website.