'Prosperity Hub' program rolling out to additional distressed communities

Komar

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. – Having used Johnstown as part of a pilot program, Intuit, an internationally known maker of financial, accounting and tax preparation software, has announced the launch of its “Prosperity Hub” program designed to assist distressed communities.

The objective is to bring full-time jobs, vocational training and other services to economically struggling municipalities where talent and support for development exist and job creation will spur sustainable growth.

Intuit representatives have worked with elected officials, nonprofits and business leaders, providing economic and knowledge support on multiple projects in Johnstown, a city that has been in Pennsylvania’s Act 47 program for distressed municipalities since 1992.

“For the last three years, we have been working with Intuit to develop the idea of a prosperity hub in Johnstown,” Johnstown Redevelopment Authority Executive Director Melissa Komar said. “It has been a very fulfilling experience to see our community through their eyes.”

John Dubnansky, Cambria County’s former grants facilitator who is about to become the city’s economic development director, added: “It means a lot to me, and my fellow warriors who are fighting this battle daily in our community and trying to keep our citizens here and attract some new ones by creating jobs.”

Part of the work in Johnstown was the production of three short “Together We Prosper” videos to promote the city. One begins with Komar closing her eyes and saying Johnstown makes her think about “strength, resiliency and hope.”

The two other videos – made by Picture North – tell the stories of Bantly Hardware’s survival, including lasting through the 1977 Flood, and of Butch Manson, owner of Carrie’s Kitchen.

Also, through Concentrix, formerly Convergys Corp., the company is involved with a technical support center in Lower Yoder Township. Intuit states it has created 319 annual jobs through its employer-partners, generating $17.5 million in business in the Johnstown region.

“We are actively working together to further expand and enhance the impact,” said Bala Venkataramanan, Intuit’s director of customer care. “We are in discussion with our partner Concentrix on how we can start to explore virtual jobs which will help us create new job opportunities beyond the 250-plus jobs that have been created so far. This will not only help avoid any restrictions around specific real estate needs, but also help create more work-life balance for workers.”

Johnstown was one of two pilot locations, along with Wise, Va. Three other programs have started in Morristown, Tenn.; Bluefield, W.Va.; and Hazard, Ky.

Intuit said the program has, so far, created 1,500 new jobs in the five communities, with another 1,500 expected by 2021.

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