Strong economic development for any community depends upon having a reliable, solid workforce; a foundation whose cornerstone begins with finding ways to retain and attract new jobs.
While incoming industries are good indicators of a strong local economy and workforce potential, the truth is that retaining jobs in existing industries is equally, if not more important, in building up communities for continued economic growth and potential.
For Companies Seeking New Locations, Workforce is #1
When companies are evaluating potential new areas for expansion or relocation, management’s first question is “How’s the workforce?”.
In considering a community, the company’s primary consideration is whether or not there is an educated workforce in place. If not — and there is demand for the work — can the existing workforce be easily trained?
Communities, regions, and states can create a significant advantage for themselves and their communities when they offer workforce training. A great example is Quick Start, Georgia’s internationally-acclaimed workforce development program, which provides training to qualified new, expanding, and existing businesses.
When the local government invests in continuing education to build a competent and qualified workforce, it incentivizes companies to locate or expand into those communities. That’s why it’s so important for economic developers to forge relationships with workforce development centers, and advocate for sensible pro-growth policies, well in advance of courting new businesses.
Old Jobs Attract New Jobs
W&A Landscape Architect Mary Charles Howard believes that economic developers should focus equally on retaining existing industries and attracting new jobs. Commenting on potential industries and their site selection process, she says: “One cannot forget to appreciate and recognize existing industry because if the company likes the economic/business/social/workforce climate there, then the company could expand in your community, which is a win-win-win!”
If the holistic infrastructure is in place and local industry is increasing its investment, the statistics on jobs and taxes should demonstrate to outsiders that the community and its labor force are desirable for new development. In other words, when courting new business development, your community needs to walk the walk, not just talk the talk!
New Jobs Attract Exposure—and More New Jobs
Many of the same areas that retain companies are also effective in attracting new companies. A qualified workforce, competitive utility rate structure, tax incentives, improved infrastructure and access, both support existing industries, and foster new growth.
The creation of jobs attracts headlines and positive political energy. A strong new industry or company is a sign of a healthy, pro-business community worthy of being considered by outside firms exploring new locations.
Here to Help
W&A Engineering can help your community better prepare to respond to prospects and their site selection team and that means growing your economy! We also help prospects eliminate as much risk as possible when locating to Georgia communities by offering our experience and full-service site related planning and development services. Get in touch to learn how our expertise can serve you and your community.