How Zanesville Muskingum County Used JobsEQ to Win a $3.1 Million State Grant

Posted on March 9, 2021 by Avery Simmons

The Problem

Zanesville Muskingum County Port Authority (ZMCPA) is responsible for the economic development of Zanesville-Muskingum County, Ohio, a top Micropolitan Community less than an hour from Columbus, Ohio.

But before ZMCPA subscribed to Chmura’s JobsEQ software tool, responding to site selector’s requests for labor market data was a massive headache.

“We’d have to call all the local colleges, call the state unemployment office, Google search for data, or rely on word of mouth,” remembers Amy Young, Business Development Specialist at ZMCPA. “Sometimes the census information we’d find was outdated. We’d even have to phone local businesses and ask how much they paid their forklift operators!”

“It was really time consuming.”

 map of zanesville muskingum county

Above: Map of Zanesville Muskingum County, in Southeastern Ohio. 

Success #1: Saving Time with JobsEQ by Chmura

All that changed when ZMCPA subscribed to JobsEQ by Chmura. The first benefit? The hours they saved in research time.

“We used to search all over the place for data. Now, everything is right there together in JobsEQ,” says Young. “JobsEQ is all-encompassing. The tool is timely and makes it easy to answer questions for site selectors.”

Success #2: Winning a $3.1 Million JobsOhio Site Redevelopment Grant

 In 2019, ZMCPA won a $3.1 million grant from JobsOhio to create an access road to the National Road Business Park.

“National Road was a very attractive site,” says Young. “But access to the site was a problem.” To make the site more marketable to site selectors, ZMCPA applied for a highly competitive site redevelopment grant from JobsOhio to construct an access road leading to the site.

“Without all the information from JobsEQ, it would have been really labor intensive to pull all the data together,” says Young. “We compared wages, commuting patterns, cost of living, and more across Muskingum County and a six-county region in Southeastern Ohio. JobsEQ was very, very helpful!” All that JobsEQ research culminated in a presentation ZMCPA gave to JobsOhio.

They won the grant. They built the road. And despite a global pandemic, the road to National Road Business Park was completed in December 2020. National Road Business Park is now open for business! ZMCPA is grateful for JobsOhio’s excellent partnership, as well as the JobsEQ data that allowed ZMCPA to present a compelling case.


national road business park in zanesville ohio

Above: The new road to National Road Business Park in Muskingum County, OH.

Success #3: Dollar General Invests $18 Million in Local Business Expansion

ZMPCA also uses JobsEQ to encourage local business expansion. For example, in 2020 ZMCPA became aware that the local Dollar General was considering a 130,000-square-foot cold storage expansion.

“The only question was: is the cold storage expansion going to take place in Muskingum County or somewhere else?” Young remembers.

ZMCPA used JobsEQ to provide Dollar General with data that showed wages, cost of living, and payroll costs in Muskingum County would be cost effective for Dollar General.

The JobsEQ data was compelling. Dollar General expanded their existing facility, investing $18 million to build the cold storage addition in Muskingum’s Eastpointe Industrial Park. The project created 65 new jobs and added $2 million in new payroll to the Zanesville-Muskingum community.

dollar general warehouse cold storage expansion zanesville ohio 

Above: Dollar General’s 130,000 SF cold storage expansion in the Eastpointe Business Park. You can see where the new expansion meets the existing facility.

Success #4: Seen as Regional Leaders in Labor Market Information  

Today, local businesses and other organizations often come to ZCMPA as their source of truth for data on wage comparisons, cost of living, commuting information, employment and underemployment, industries and occupations, education levels, and awards.

“We are very, very liberal with our assistance. We don’t think of JobsEQ as belonging to the Port Authority. We share our data with anyone who wants it,” says Young. “We’ve made ourselves available as a research center for other community organizations.”

The Chmura Difference

“JobsEQ has helped us do in-house what used to take a lot of calls and a lot of time,” concludes Young. 

Zanesville Muskingum County Port Authority is an excellent example of how timely, high-quality labor market information can help economic developers win grants, promote business expansion and retention, and ultimately help their communities thrive.

Chmura is proud to have ZMCPA as JobsEQ clients since 2015. Contact us today to see how Chmura’s JobsEQ software tools can help your organization win.

This blog reflects Chmura staff assessments and opinions with the information available at the time the blog was written.