When Dauphin County Commissioner Nick DiFrancesco delivers the state of the country address today, he’ll be talking from the heart. DiFrancesco, a lifelong Dauphin County resident except for his time pursuing his undergraduate degree at Penn State University, has a personal attachment to the area and knows all too well its challenges.
That said, he’s quite optimistic about Dauphin County, which relies on the state capital and other large institutions, like Hershey Foods, and has fared better than most against the recession, according to DiFrancesco.
“There’s a lot of projects moving forward. Whether we have critical mass is yet to be seen,” says DiFrancesco. “The market alone isn’t enough. I see a lot of people coming from the outside area bringing new ideas, but not so much from within.”
DiFrancesco sees the region as attractive to businesses looking to relocate with its trained workforce, low cost of living, and quality of life. He credits the Harrisburg Young Professionals group with being a stabilizing and active force for the region’s growing number of under-40 workers, organizing mayoral debates, kickball leagues and community service projects. The development of science and technology through Harrisburg University, Hershey Medical Center, and the Hershey Center for Applied Research, for example, is diversifying the region’s capabilities.
DiFrancesco has been vocal about changing the culture of education to include more entrepreneurial curriculum and thinks that can contribute to the region’s future success, and also sees a need for increased efforts to draw venture capital to the region.
“There’s no reason in this economy that someone coming out of high school or technical school or is early in their career shouldn’t be considering starting a business,” he says.
Source: Nick DiFrancesco, Dauphin County Commissioners
Writer: Joe Petrucci