By Dominique Cantelme
From the March/April 2020 Issue
Workforce development enhances a state’s economic stability and prosperity with a focus on people. Strategies include addressing the needs of people living in a particular area or focusing on matching worker skills to the needs of an industry.
The NCWorks Commission, North Carolina’s workforce development board, released a new plan that outlines the state’s workforce development strategy over the next four years. According to a release by the North Carolina Department of Commerce, the plan “supports NC Job Ready, Governor Roy Cooper’s workforce initiative, which is built on three core principles: helping North Carolinians get the skills and education they need to be ready for jobs available now and in the future, using employer leadership to keep training relevant to evolving industry needs and taking promising local innovations and applying them statewide.”
“Thanks to the collaboration of numerous partners, this Unified State Plan provides an overview of all the state’s workforce initiatives, pointing to how they are currently connected and how they can be integrated further, to promote North Carolina’s economic prosperity,” said Tom Rabon, the chair of the NCWorks Commission. “The plan illustrates how the NCWorks system will continue implementing the NC Job Ready initiative, by connecting workers with career services and training while providing employers a pipeline of skilled workers they need to grow and succeed.”
South Carolina also has been scaling up workforce development efforts to keep its people in the ever-evolving game.
The South Carolina Skilled Trade Alliance (SCSTA) recently held a series of informational events on par with its mission to provide a road-map to intentionally engage, educate, equip and empower individuals to create a workforce pipeline in the Building Construction Skills Trade industry.
SCSTA’s multi-level approach to solving the workforce shortage includes partnering with construction industry companies, academia, unemployment agencies, veteran services, re-entry services and community advocacy programs/organizations. A major component of its strategy is to introduce the range of career opportunities in construction to key influencers of potential recruits.
The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce Education and Workforce Development Foundation also recently announced a $75,000 grant given by Power:Ed that will be used to help increase awareness of STEM-related companies to students at historically black colleges and universities.
“We are so thankful to receive the Power:Ed grant to support the Chamber’s HBCU STEM Program. This grant creates a substantial impact for the students as they prepare to join the workforce. Consequently, this benefits business as we work to retain our diverse talent and fill high-need career fields.” said Ted Pitt, President & CEO of the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce.
NORTHWOOD CONTINUES TO ELEVATE BALLANTYNE
Quality, productivity, flexibility and community are desirable attributes in general and are especially compelling when users are seeking office space.
Guided by these essentials to create and sustain work environments that inspire, Northwood Office provides a complete approach to fulfilling office space needs. Established in 2017 by Northwood Investors, a vertically-integrated global real estate firm, the Charlotte, NC-based company offers best-in-class services in commercial development, leasing and property management.
Northwood Office works seamlessly with Northwood’s residential, retail and hospitality platforms to deliver exceptional mixed-use experiences. With Northwood as a single owner and operator, its customers are offered unparalleled flexibility for business growth.
The organization’s largest asset is Ballantyne, an internationally recognized 535-acre, mixed-use campus featuring 4.4 million square feet of Class A office space.
Providing Work Environments That Inspire at Ballantyne
Positioned in the heart of Charlotte’s largest concentration of college educated and experienced labor, Ballantyne is home to 17,000 employees and 300 companies. Current corporate neighbors include Brighthouse Financial, Wells Fargo, Premier, Synchrony, TIAA, Lincoln Financial Group, Spectrum and Siemens.
Northwood Office’s all-encompassing campus fits naturally within the 2,000-acre picturesque surrounding community of Ballantyne in Charlotte, NC. Ballantyne features thousands of apartments; over 1,000 single-family homes; top-rated schools; nearly 600 hotel rooms; 19 miles of walking paths, bike lanes and parks, as well as dozens of restaurants, medical and retail amenities.
With a laser-sharp focus on providing the nation’s most desirable work-life balance setting, Ballantyne is more than a community. Guided by a dedicated community engagement team, tenants can get involved in a variety of ways, including free fitness events, charitable drives, signature events, social hours, volunteer opportunities and more. Northwood Office makes it easy to stay connected by powering its exclusive goBallantyne app and community website.
Current Development Projects
Construction is underway at 13146 Ballantyne Corporate Place, a landmark mixed-use project. Northwood Office will deliver a 328,000-square-foot, 11-story Class A office building in March 2021.
Targeting LEED® Silver Core & Shell certification, the office property will feature 10 stories of Class A office space with expanded 32,000-square-foot floor plates and ceiling heights. The top-level amenity floor, complete with a rooftop terrace and fire pit, will provide tenants with exclusive access to 14,500 square feet of vibrant space for relaxation, collaboration and events. The main level will include a 2,500-square-foot fitness facility, as well as planned retail and dining.
The project also features an adjacent 16-story residential tower and five-story mid-rise building, comprised of 212 luxury apartment homes, in partnership with Northwood Ravin.
“We have a long-term commitment to investing in Charlotte, and we’re excited to be working on our first project as Northwood in Ballantyne,” said Michael O’Shaughnessy, senior managing director at Northwood Investors. “Ballantyne is already such a successful community, and we have put careful thought into creating an inspiring work environment that addresses future needs for attracting and retaining top talent.”
“This project exemplifies what we continue to strive to do at Ballantyne—provide an amenity-rich location that offers features that improve quality of life while demonstrating a high-quality standard for future development,” said John Barton, president of Northwood Office.
Northwood was intentional about the location for its latest project—right across the street from the core of Ballantyne Reimagined, its master plan for the next phase of development. Ballantyne Reimagined is Northwood’s renewed vision to create a more urban, walkable environment. Envision an amenity-rich destination with an authentic mix of retail, dining, entertainment and housing options, complemented by vibrant open spaces.
Northwood’s differentiating factor that takes Ballantyne Reimagined to a whole new level is its mixed-use expertise. With deep experience in office, retail, residential and hospitality, Northwood is the ideal firm to bring the vision to life.
As residential is introduced to the center of Ballantyne, employees can live where they work. In addition, a 3,000-person amphitheater will offer a unique gathering space for performances and festivals, as well as wellness events and farmers’ markets.
Ballantyne will build on its existing network of more than 19 miles of walking paths and six miles of bike lanes with a connection to the greenway. The community will feature 100 acres of signature parks, offering a convenient link to the natural environment with thoughtful design elements and event programming.
Well-Positioned for Continued Demand
Demand remains strong for office space at Ballantyne. In 2019, Northwood Office leased 630,000 square feet, up 15 percent over the previous year. Segra, one of the largest fiber bandwidth companies in the eastern U.S., recently established its corporate headquarters in Ballantyne. A testament to customer satisfaction, notable renewals included Novant Health, Sonic Automotive, Principal Life Insurance Company, Select Bank & Trust Company and Hyosung USA.
“Our clients crave collaborative, positive work environments that are highly amenitized,” said Keith Bell, executive director, Cushman & Wakefield. “Ballantyne delivers on all counts, and we’re excited for what’s to come.”
The Future is Bright
Ballantyne has been a dynamic growth engine from its founding, and Northwood’s plan will help build on that momentum. “We expect the evolution of Ballantyne to continue as an economic catalyst for the entire region, making it an even more compelling place for businesses to relocate,” Barton affirms. “Access to talent, recruitment and retention are priorities for our office customers. With the added benefits of increased walkability, enhanced programming and enriching amenities, Ballantyne will become an even more desirable place for work and beyond.”
SANTEE COOPER: POWERING SOUTH CAROLINA FOR OVER 80 YEARS
Santee Cooper has developed industrial sites for decades, and over the years they’ve learned how to incorporate what matters most to industry success. Camp Hall is the largest, not only in terms of acreage (roughly 1,400 developable acres)—but also in vision: it is, after all, the choice for Volvo Car USA’s first U.S. automobile plant, which is already manufacturing cars. Grounded by that vision and the support of economic development partners Berkeley Electric Cooperative and Edisto Electric Cooperative (which serves Volvo), Camp Hall will achieve success unlike any other industrial commerce park around.
Santee Cooper also helped bring South Carolina’s two inland ports, one in Dillon and one in Greer, to fruition. The newest, Inland Port Dillon was dedicated in 2018 and handled 30,000 rail moves in its first operational year. Santee Cooper, working with Marlboro Electric Cooperative, offered financial support to bring this important economic development asset online in Dillon County. Similarly, Santee Cooper’s loan program afforded the Greer Commission of Public Works the construction of an electric substation to supply power to the Spartanburg County port.
Santee Cooper has strong working relationships with key partners across the state, including the state Commerce Department, South Carolina electric cooperatives and the SC Power Team, local governments, economic development alliances, educational institutions and many other organizations that understand the importance of a strong industrial presence to this state.
Santee Cooper is South Carolina’s largest power provider and one of the nation’s largest publicly owned electric utilities based on generation. For more than 80 years, the utility has been breaking new ground in South Carolina by creating safe, reliable electricity that supports the industrial community, which in turn improves the quality of life for South Carolinians.
Santee Cooper’s industrial electric costs are 30 percent below the national average and reflect a diverse generating portfolio combining natural gas, nuclear, coal, hydro and renewable resources.
Santee Cooper powers the Charleston Air Force Base, 20 electric cooperatives, the cities of Bamberg and Georgetown, 26 large industrial customers and 10 member cities that form the Piedmont Municipal Power Agency, plus roughly 180,000 residential and commercial customers.
The state’s pacesetter when it comes to Green Power and renewable energy, Santee Cooper also has attracted national attention for an innovative program to beneficially reuse coal ash. A comprehensive Reduce The Use campaign offers rebates, incentives and low-interest financing to encourage customers to make energy-efficient improvements to their homes and businesses. Santee Cooper also helps customers who choose to use the sun to help offset their electric use through their Solar Home, Solar Business and Community Solar programs.
Santee Cooper provides competitive prices, reliability and excellent customer service—and customers appreciate that. A 2018 independent survey found 100 percent overall satisfaction among industrial customers who responded, the highest ever recorded in nearly 20 years of surveys. Areas where customers gave the strongest marks include pricing, power restoration after an interruption, communication, general customer service and technical expertise.
Because of South Carolina’s favorable business climate and Santee Cooper’s competitive electric rates, reliable service, diverse generation mix, alliances with electric cooperatives and municipalities, and exceptional customer service, companies like Samsung, Google and Volvo have located here. Since 2014 alone, Santee Cooper has worked with the state’s other economic development entities and helped attract $4.6 billion in investment and 18,571 jobs.
Camp Hall is a first-of-its-kind industrial community blending commerce, lifestyle, business and family in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. Volvo built its first North American car manufacturing plant at Camp Hall and is planning an expansion there. Exeter Property Group is building a logistics park on a 77-acre tract with three speculative buildings totaling 945,000 square feet of space. Camp Hall is logistically strong with on-site access to Interstate 26 and plans for rail service in the near future. It is close to Interstate 95 and the Port of Charleston. Infrastructure, including roads, sewer, water, natural gas and redundant and diverse power and fiber already are constructed.
Along with Camp Hall’s holistic approach to community development, Camp Hall is committed to maintaining an environment that is authentic to the natural habitat of coastal South Carolina. Around 28 percent of the site’s more than 6,800 acres will be preserved land devoted to natural growth, wildlife habitats and features developed to maintain and improve a healthy, local ecosystem.
Projects on-site, including replacing the existing pine plantings with native species that once thrived here, will utilize a variety of innovative solutions to support natural systems and living infrastructure, such as incorporating bioswales in stormwater treatment and providing pollinator habitats.
Camp Hall’s Village Center will be home to amenities such as fitness options, medical services, convenience services, shops, restaurants and more. The plans also include recreational opportunities, such as walking and biking trails, and a large park to help employees who work there strike the perfect work-life experience.
Santee Cooper powers business and economic development across South Carolina. Visit www.poweringsc.com and let us put our power to work for you.
UNION COUNTY, SC: THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS
Union County, South Carolina offers the best of both worlds: a rich history and relaxed lifestyle combined with a dynamic economy and an eye on the future. With its highly developed infrastructure and a focus on technology and innovation, Union County is part of the dynamic international economic boom that is flourishing in the Carolina region. Global companies such as Milliken, Michelin North America, Fluor Daniel and BMW, among others, already have established North American headquarters in the Upstate region—its “backyard.” This dynamic region, once known solely as “The Textile Capital Of The World,” has now become recognized for its significant contributions to the global economy, attracting international companies, leading innovation and research centers from all corners of the world, in a number of trending fields, including Automotive, Biosciences, Information technology and Advanced Materials, to name a few.
Union County and the surrounding region are fed by a healthy and diverse network infrastructure of transportation: by land, by air, by sea. Located strategically in the Carolinas—in a region bustling with new economic growth—Union County provides a multimodal range of transport options, with convenient access to air, interstate, rails and ports. It is just a short drive or a quick flight from nearly every major metropolitan city in the southeastern United States. Just off the I-85 corridor—which connects the metropolitan cities of Atlanta, Greenville, Columbia and Charlotte—the region also is served by three major airports and has a major shipping port just three hours away in Charleston, South Carolina.
In Union County, the Development Board can help you cut through all the “red tape” to make things happen. Union County offers businesses a low cost of doing business, along with an affordable cost of living, plus a wealth of resources for identifying funding opportunities. With more than 70 years of economic development experience on the Union County Development Board, and a local team that can provide all the services and resources you need to grow or relocate your business, Union County has the experience and expertise to make it happen—effectively and efficiently.
With a wide selection of properties and buildings, Union offers a stable foundation to start, develop and grow your business. In addition to an unparalleled leadership team, Union County provides:
- An expert group of local advisors coming from Public and Private Utilities, Industry, Small Business, Healthcare, Finance, Secondary and Higher Education who can assist with and accelerate your success
- Superior customer service designed to build loyalty to the community
- Easy access to the community via U.S. Highway 176 to Interstate 85 and Interstate 26 and Southwest Airlines service from Greenville-Spartanburg International (GSP). (Other airline services from GSP include American, Continental, Delta, United, Allegiant and others.)
- The ability to work directly with local, regional and state economic development partners to coordinate prospect and client engagement activities, workforce development activities and to expedite incentive negotiations that meet the needs of companies and the community
The county is fed by a healthy, skilled workforce and strategic network of institutions for higher learning. Nationally recognized colleges and universities in the area include University of South Carolina, USC Union, USC Upstate, Clemson University, Furman University, UNC Charlotte and Winthrop University. The state also supports a comprehensive statewide technical college system: Spartanburg Community College and Greenville Technical College are part of the 16 college network providing industry-specific workforce training.
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