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The Moniteau County Regional Economic Development Council met last Wednesday, discussing progress with the EDA grant project employing help from area high schools.

The project, a marketing campaign encouraging shoppers to patronize local businesses, has started to solidify its branding thanks to ideas presented by students at Jamestown and Tipton's high schools. MRED president Mike Kelley said the campaign would probably seek to combine their ideas — "Buy Nearby" and "Check out Moniteau County," playing off of the shape of the county — as MRED next seeks to begin working on advertising via commercials, radio spots and newspaper advertisements.

The group also discussed a few other items at last week's meeting. Kelley gave an update on progress with Co-Mo Connect's virtual industrial park; he said the sites advertised via the new resource are garnering interest from companies both in the United States and overseas. Kelley said he's expressed interest in bringing a similar project to California.

The group also heard from MRED's representative with Central Missouri Community Action, Jenn Millard, who has been helping to coordinate career fairs at area schools. Millard said fairs at Tipton and Jamestown both went well and said she was floating the idea of hosting a larger-scale career and resource fair — open to students and adults — later this year. Tentatively, she said a late August event hosted somewhere such as the Moniteau County Fairgrounds could be the route taken, but nothing is planned yet.

Kelley also informed the group he had been working with area businesses such as Burgers' Smokehouse and Gokey USA, among others, to get them set up with the Missouri One Start Program. The program helps businesses market jobs.

Finally, Kelley told the group he needs to fill three seats on MRED's board and encouraged anyone interested to put their name in the hat.

MRED's next regular monthly meeting is set for noon May 12.

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