Location Focus Archives

Southern Innovation in the Carolinas

Creating Exciting New Workforce Development Strategies for the 21st Century In the past few years, the Carolinas have become well known for their creative and innovative climate, as well as their low-cost business environment. North Carolina and South Carolina has spent the past two decades certifying shovel-ready sites and pioneering new incentives. For example, Gov. Bev Perdue recently established the North Carolina Innovation Council to foster strategic investments and policies in the growing knowledge and innovation economy. The North Carolina Innovation Council is part of Gov. Perdue’s JobsNOW initiative. Through JobsNOW, the state will work aggressively to create jobs, train and retrain its workforce, and lay the foundation for a sustainable economic future. “To continue growing jobs in North Carolina, we must make sure this state is poised to compete globally in the 21st century,” says Perdue. “Innovation is North Carolina’s launch pad to success in the global economy, and it’s a primary way for us to maintain and sharpen our competitive edge.” North Carolina recently announced a partnership with Microsoft to provide free technology training to its citizens through the North Carolina Community College System, the Division of Workforce Development and the Employment Security Commission. The Elevate America courses range from basic- to intermediate-level technology literacy, and even provide a portion of the recipients with Microsoft Certification. “This partnership will provide North Carolinians with another opportunity to retrain for today’s new economy,” Gov. Perdue says. “At a time when businesses are seeking a highly qualified, well trained workforce, Elevate America can give potential employees new skills to succeed.” In South Carolina, the focus also is on creative workforce development strategies. The South Carolina Department of Commerce is committed to meeting a business’ specific workforce needs. The Department of Commerce’s Workforce Division and the readySC™ program, offered through the S.C. Technical College System, coordinate training needs at no cost for eligible new or expanding companies throughout the state. The readySC™ program works with the state’s 16 technical colleges to develop training curriculum tailored to meet a company’s workforce requirements. More than a quarter-million workers have been trained since the nationally recognized program’s inception. “South Carolina is dedicated to establishing an environment where businesses can prosper,” says Gov. Mark Sanford. “The state has taken necessary steps to further enhance its business-friendly environment. Efforts like tort reform, workers’ comp reform, lowering taxes and expanding healthcare access for small businesses are just a few reasons why South Carolina has been ranked among the top five most business-friendly states for the past four years […]

Mississippi Sets its Priorities: Business is Number One

Incentives and initiatives in a supportive business climate—along with an obvious geographic advantage—will prove once again that Mississippi is a business force to be reckoned with. In his state of the state address, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said “2010 is the year we will help lead America out of this global recession; the year when we pick up where we left off before this recession sidetracked our growing economy and rising incomes.” He then backed the statement up by helping to create and renew incentives and initiatives that would do just that. In October, the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA), the state’s lead economic and community development agency, held events around the state for local economic developers during a nine-city rollout of the new PriorityOne program. An effort of MDA’s Existing Industry and Business (EIB) Division, PriorityOne is a key component of the agency’s business retention and expansion program. Goals of PriorityOne include assisting businesses in solving immediate and long-term problems, promoting economic development and job creation and strengthening and diversifying the local economy. To achieve these goals, MDA staff and local economic developers interview businesses throughout the state to assess their particular needs and concerns, using the PriorityOne survey questions as a guide. All survey results are entered into a database. MDA then analyzes and reports the results, in the aggregate, to each community. With this information, local developers and state officials can provide relevant assistance to community businesses. The information PriorityOne provides to local officials will assist them as they define their communities’ priorities and determine how best to allocate their resources. At the state level, this program will enable MDA to develop policy and implement programs that will be most effective in assisting the state’s existing businesses. “The PriorityOne program . . . will be beneficial for businesses around the state, particularly during a time when economic development efforts and job creation are critical to maintaining a healthy economy,” said Chandler Russ, EIB Division director during the roll-out. Gov. Barbour also created a partnership with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal to launch The Aerospace Alliance, a 501(c)(6) private/public organization that will establish the Gulf Coast and surrounding region as a world-class aerospace, space and aviation corridor. “This alliance will go far in promoting our region for what it is—one of the largest aerospace corridors in the world and a great place for companies in this sector to do business,” says Gov. Barbour. “The Gulf Coast states share geographic proximity, a long tradition of aerospace and aviation activities and a […]