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SEWN: A partner we don’t recognize enough

Partnering is what we do. It’s like connecting the dots, connecting Adams County business leaders with local, state and national providers who can help them in some way, which in turn generates economic growth for the county. It’s a win-win.


But there’s one provider or partner you’ve probably never heard about. So my goal, through this column, is to let you know they’re here, like a safety net, ready to catch and rescue those who need it. It’s especially geared towards manufacturers, which is one of Adams County’s three primary pillars of industry.


The partner’s name is Strategic Early Warning Network, which is a mouthful, so they go by SEWN. Their roots go back to Western Pennsylvania, affiliated with one of our economic development counterparts, the Steel Valley Authority.


In a nutshell, here’s how they describe their services: “For over 35 years, we’ve been helping Pennsylvania manufacturing survive, grow, and thrive. Using our customized business analysis tools, SEWN can pinpoint the actions needed to assist your company to avoid layoffs or closure.”


Their services grew out of a troubled time in the 1980s, as the steel industry went into decline, and regional leaders came together to respond to plant closings and reindustrialization. Their success has established a blueprint for others’ success!


Today, they offer a statewide program that offers free services to small and medium sized manufacturers in the form of financial restructuring, streamlining operations, ownership transition, new market opportunities, and high-performance workplace strategies. And they’ve grown to include five locations across Pennsylvania, including Harrisburg which is our affiliate.


Their results speak volumes: Over the last five years, SEWN has saved more than 7,500 Pennsylvania manufacturing jobs at an average cost of $891 per job saved. Compare this to the going rate of roughly $25,000 to train laid-off employees for a new career plus the $47.3 million in unemployment costs saved by the state.


Thankfully, we don’t refer clients to SEWN every day, but we have referred Adams County clients in the past, and SEWN has absolutely “saved them.” The company we most recently referred has been nothing but thankful. It is truly incredible to witness the turnaround strategies that SEWN recommends.

Clients who utilize the SEWN program cover the gamut of industry types including fabricated metals, computer and electronics components, wood products, printing, food production, and apparel. When a SEWN director enters the company, problems are quickly defined, solutions identified, and resources matched.


To learn more about SEWN, see www.steelvalley.org/sewn. And if your company could benefit from SEWN’s services, please contact us at Adams Economic Alliance at 717-334-0042 or office@adamsalliance.org. All conversations will of course be completely confidential, and we’d be happy to connect you with our partners at SEWN. Kaycee Kemper is vice president of Adams Economic Alliance, which comprises three organizations: The Adams County Economic Development Corporation (ACEDC), the Adams County Industrial Development Authority (ACIDA) and the Adams County General Authority (ACGA). For more information, see adamsalliance.org, or follow us on Twitter (@AdamsAlliance), Facebook (Facebook.com/AdamsAlliance) and LinkedIn (Adams Economic Alliance).


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