October 23, 2013
Big success doesn’t mean complacency to the Economic Development Partnership but rather motivation to keep bringing in business to Aiken and Edgefield counties.
During its annual meeting held on Monday in Aiken Electric Cooperative’s community room, Partnership Director Will Williams said $154 million in new capital investments were made and 341 jobs were created last year in those two counties.
But there’s a lot of work left to be done, Williams said, as the Partnership continues attract new business to the area and educate the next generation that will make up the local workforce.
Williams said the Partnership recently exposed area high school students to the world of manufacturing, a career once considered “dirty” but now offers “a high-tech environment that pays well.”
The students visited several facilities and learned about a variety of jobs in logistics, technical support, accounting and more.
While focusing on the future, attention is also being paid to the present situation, Williams said.
With news of jobs being cut at the Savannah River Site and the recent furloughs during the partial government shutdown, much concern has surrounded the large employer.
Williams said loss of jobs or furloughs impact the local economy as a whole because those affected are working with a tighter budget and cut out activities like eating out with family or shopping.
With each job that disappears at the site, approximately two and a half more jobs need to be created to fill the void, in terms of the money that is spent in the community, which is why it’s important to continue marketing Aiken and Edgefield counties as a great place for business, Williams said.
Gary Stooksbury, chairman of the Partnership Board of Directors, noted a successful year despite state and nationwide economic challenges. He said the local economy continues to diversify and the tax base is expanding.
“We remained focused on quality rather than quantity,” Stooksbury said about the companies that have located in this area. “We will continue to seek investment from companies.”
President of AT&T in South Carolina Pamela Lackey was the keynote speaker at the event, and she discussed the rapidly changing technology in the way people communicate and conduct business.
“We all live in an increasingly mobile world,” Lackey said.
For more information, visit www.edpsc.org.
Amy Banton is the County reporter for the Aiken Standard and has been with the publication since May 2010.
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