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Anderson County consolidating economic development efforts

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Anderson County is bringing all parties interested in the county’s economic success under the umbrella of the Development Corp. of Anderson County. Burris Nelson, economic development director for the county, is president of the group, which includes anyone interested in the growth and development of the county.

“The idea is to consolidate economic development efforts across the county,” Nelson said. “The corporation includes utility companies, investors, construction companies, banks and consultants of all kinds.

“It’s about jobs creation and capital investment, with a focus right now on workforce development,” he said.

A new component of the corporation is a manufacturers alliance. Nelson said it was formed to connect with manufacturers in the county on issues affecting them, like workforce development, and how the county can help.

The workforce development issue is one created by a 4.3% unemployment rate in the county. Teri Gilstrap, existing industries manager for the Anderson County Office of Economic Development, told GSA Business Report in April that manufacturers may not know where to look for workers.

“Essentially most of the people who want jobs have jobs,” she said, adding that if someone isn’t employed it’s likely because they will only take a certain shift. In a manufacturing community there needs to be a workforce available for various shifts. Gilstrap touts the benefit of being a manufacturing community because of the multiplier effect.

“Manufacturing has the highest multiplier. Some experts say 1.5 times; others say up to 4,” she said. “Somewhere between that is a real number.

“And companies will train the workers. They just need people who will show up and want to learn,” she said. “That’s why collaboration is so important. We need to know what industry needs are and how to get them what they need.”

Industry investment in Anderson County since 2009 has totaled $3.3 billion and resulted in 5,377 jobs. Some of the recent announcements include Arthrex, which is investing $69 million and creating 1,000 jobs with a facility under construction in Sandy Springs.

Reach Teresa Cutlip at 864-720-1223.

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