WELLSBORO — Two non-profits — each with the mission of improving life in Tioga County — are now housed in the same building.
On Sept. 28, Develop Tioga, the county’s business and economic development organization, moved its office from 114 Main St., Wellsboro, across The Green to the Tioga County Partnership for Community Health’s office at 33 Pearl St. The move, said directors of the two organizations, is a natural fit for the organizations that both work to improve quality of life.
Develop Tioga, formed in the 1980s as the Tioga County Development Corporation, has seen a shift in philosophy over the years.
Kristin Hamilton, executive director of Develop Tioga, said economic development historically focused on recruiting a large industry employing 500 people to an area. Today, most new jobs are in the small business sector, and the emphasis has changed to helping develop new businesses and help existing businesses retain and expand jobs.
The idea to share space arose during the COVID-19 shutdown when Hamilton and Susan Sticklin, executive director of the Partnership, were working to develop covid grants. Develop Tioga was focused on employers while the Partnership was reaching out to emergency responders. While working together, they realized both organizations had the same focus: improving the quality of life for Tioga County residents.
“The focus we have is people want to be thriving,” said Sticklin. “If you have a job and are just getting by, but you don’t feel safe or you’re not connected to the community, then having a job is just having a job. People want a more well-rounded life.”
Employers reach out for help with human resource issues, Hamilton said, such as available day care, dental and mental health services and insurance.
“If we bolster the community health, it’s a given the economic health will improve,” Sticklin added.
The two organizations have worked together in the past, specifically with the leadership programs. The youth program originally came from the Partnership’s Health Families Work Group. TCDC ran the youth program and added an adult program for many years until the organization recently reorganized. At that time, the Partnership picked up the youth program.
The close proximity between the two organizations could open up other ways to enhance community.
Together, Develop Tioga and the Partnership can help those businesses “sell” Tioga County as a good place to live to potential employees. For example, Develop Tioga’s website is adding a “Living Here” section to connect people with services and information.
“We’ve seen those opportunities in the last year and we will see even more going forward,” Hamilton said.