Economic development center aids rural planners

By Peter Kent

Good information about what employers need and how area residents match those needs is vital to planning workforce development programs.

To help improve the state’s economic development prospects, the University Center for Economic Development provides planning and analytical services to businesses, local and state governments and community organizations.

Recently the center completed a study for the counties in the Upper Savannah Region. Analysts identified industries and occupations in which future employment growth is likely, assessed skills needed for growth occupations, compared skill needs with area skill levels and made recommendations to career and technology education program leaders to match programs with industry needs over the next decade.

The study revealed that rural area planners must seek ways to attract professional and highly skilled jobs that are more likely to be found in metropolitan areas. This means increasing education levels and the quality of life to attract and retain well-educated workers.

For information: David Barkley, 864-656-5797,