Development official campaigns for home-grown jobs

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:51

    Sussex County - Over 65 percent of Sussex County residents commute to Morris County to work, Mary Emilius told Mayor Ira Weiner and the council at a recent meeting. Emilius serves as director of client and community services for the Sussex County Economic Development Partnership (SCEDP), Inc., and she wants to make it possible for people to work closer to home by drawing more business to the area and creating more jobs, especially in white-collar professions. Sussex County has a population of about 150,000, with a median age of 37, said Emilius. People live here because they enjoy the quality of semi-rural life. But quality of life is impaired when people have to spend hours commuting every day. "Most development in this area is about retail, but some relates to tourism. Retail jobs don't pay a livable wage. We are trying to establish centers that pay higher wages. One in every three Sussex county residents has a college degree. With a young and well-educated population, we are actively recruiting corporations." A corporation would not necessarily have to be established in a state-designated growth area, Emilius explained, as along as the corporation can piggyback on the existing infrastructure, such as Vernon's new town center. "You don't need enormous acreage for a corporate center. Smaller office buildings will attract firms that can offer people the chance to live and work here," Emilius remarked. The SCEDP's future plans aren't limited to attracting white-collar business to the county. Among ideas the partnership is exploring are a Sussex County pasteurization plant for milk and cheese, and a Sussex County brand for locally produced honey and produce. Among the services the partnership offers is a demographics package that includes town-specific demographics, site-location assistance and an inventory of commercial space available in the county. The SCEDP is headquartered in Newton. For more information, visit the Web site at Activities are funded through a county grant and through private and corporate donations.