Cultivating Economic Development in South Carolina

Workforce Development

Harry Crissy, CD Agent for Barnwell, Allendale, Bamberg, Calhoun, and Orangeburg Counties,in collaboration with the Southern Carolina Alliance  (SCA) is working on various workforce development projects and industrial development strategies. Regionally (southeast), he has identified new industrial site consultants and arranged visits with SCA.    

We’ve also established a technical center that will include facilities for adult education.  I’ve drafted a number of proposals concerning workforce development centers.  These are still under consideration.  I’ve initiated an effort to bring Linux based computers into all three of Barnwell County’s school districts (Williston, Blackville, and Barnwell).  We’ve acquired the computers and are waiting on their delivery.  We will also install a portion of these in our new Adult Education Center in Barnwell.

Project managers subsequently visited these consultants, with whom they now have a dialogue and some listings.  This will afford the citizens of the community an opportunity to receive additional education after working ours that may contribute to a GED or some form of certification.

Horry County Economic Development Strategic Plan

The Clemson Institute for Economic and Community Development and the BB&T Center for Economic and Community Development at Coastal Carolina University (CCU) have teamed together to complete a strategic plan for economic development in Horry County. The purpose of this endeavor is to identify and prioritize issues surrounding economic development and to build consensus around a set of actions that may be taken in the pursuit of a collective economic vision. Building consensus through such a plan ensures that the collaborative resources of numerous public service entities and their private partners may be efficiently leveraged to overcome the barriers and challenges to continued economic prosperity.

Starting in January a local taskforce composed of members of Horry County Council, municipal government representatives, economic development organizations, area Chambers of Commerce, citizen’s institutions, civic groups, and business and industry leaders was convened to guide the completion of the Economic Development Strategic Plan for Horry County. The process is proposed to continue through October 2008 at which time a report consisting of the following components will be presented: economic development vision/goals, priority issues, priority issues research, strategies, policies/projects, implementation matrix, sustainability and monitoring process, community data, and corollary plans analysis.

The resulting plan will serve as a blueprint for the implementation of strategies that seek to diversify the economic base, attract and retain a quality workforce and maintain quality of life component s essential to economic development. The resulting strategic planning framework will be employed to ensure that goals related to eight priority areas (transportation, education, tourism, natural resources, infrastructure, collaboration, healthcare and cultural assets) are achieved and revised upon the attainment of established benchmarks.

Horry Industrial Alliance

In collaboration with the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation, the Clemson Institute for Economic and Community Development has established an existing industry support organization known as the Horry Industrial Alliance (HIA). The purpose of the organization is to allow businesses and industry to come together to address common business issues and areas of concern. A critical component to the economic diversity within the county is working with existing industries to support their businesses for possible expansion.

To date HIA organizers have worked with Horry Georgetown Technical College, Coastal Carolina University, The SC Manufacturers Alliance and the Silver Crescent Foundation to plan for collaborative programs and projects that both meet the needs of existing local manufacturers, but also enhance the overall operating environment for manufacturing entities in Horry County. Nurturing such programs is seen as critical to attraction and retention of industries that will diversify the counties overall economic structure and raise the overall per capita income.

Most recently HIA collaboratively sponsored the “Educators Exploring Career Clusters” initiative aimed at highlighting the career opportunities that exist in the manufacturing sector. This graduate certification course offered by the Waccamaw Regional Education Center and Coastal Carolina University was developed around the premise that manufacturers should establish partnerships with educational institutions that will be responsible for meeting employer’s skilled workforce demands.  Policymakers will need to understand and design land use and growth public policy that reflect these local differences.

Enhancing Broadband Connectivity for Success in the Knowledge Economy

Dr. David Lamie coordinated a panel discussion at the South Carolina Telephone Association titled “Higher Education, Economic and Community Development, and Advanced Telecommunications:  A Possible Partnership for the Success of All of South Carolina”.  This panel included presentations from Dr. Jim Bottum, Chief Information Officer for Clemson University; Dr. Jabari Simama, Vice President for Community Development and Organizer of the Broadband in Cities and Towns conference, and Dr. Lamie (UCED).

Outcomes of this event included enhanced relationships and contacts between university and Internet provider organizations and an increased understanding of how to plan and invest in the telecommunications infrastructure in South Carolina for future advanced knowledge economy employment.  Dr. Bottums indicated that contacts he made at this event led to a substantial donation of infrastructure to Clemson University’s C-Light next-generation research network.