The CDF award winning Existing Industry Program is also a marquee component of the Economic Development Division’s mission. With 79% of capital investment coming from existing industry in the past 20 years, it is important special emphasis and resources are directed to this vital area. CDF employs a workforce development professional who works directly with company officials to secure employee training needs and works with area colleges in training availability. An existing industry coordinator is also in place to ensure business and industry needs are met. Existing industry services provide project management and consulting services to companies who are wishing to expand and enhance their operations. Through direct interviews with area businesses, CDF utilizes the e-Synchronist business system retention tool, which allows staff to quantify the needs and concerns of existing industries across Lee County and adjust programs and policies to meet their needs. CDF was awarded the “Critical Partner Business Award” by Blane Canada Ltd., an industry leader for existing business portfolio management tools In October 2008. This top honor was received in an annual competition among economic development organizations throughout the United States and Canada. In May of 2008, CDF was awarded Business Retention Expansion International’s Award of Excellence for an Outstanding Multi-Community Regional Business Retention and Expansion Program for Population below 200,000. This award was given in recognition of the work done with existing industry, especially the furniture industry, in which special emphasis was placed on addressing workforce training needs.