Leaders from area businesses, local governments, area school systems, Davidson County Community College, as well as members of the public attended an action planning workshop hosted by the Davidson County Economic Development Commission at the Rittling Conference Center on Thursday morning.
Craig Goodson, president of the Davidson County EDC, said the organization wanted to hold the workshop to make sure all key stakeholders were involved in future economic development plans in the area.
“Economic development has two critical parts, workforce development and product development,” Goodson said. “It is not going to be done in a vacuum, it takes teamwork and we have a lot of diverse people that need to be part of the team. Whether it is business, education, government or private citizens, we are all working towards making Davidson County better. If we all come together and do it as one team we can do infinitely more than we could ever do apart.”
During the meeting, which was facilitated by Creative Economic Development Consulting of Elkin, attending members heard an update on recent activity by Davidson County EDC before breaking into groups to discuss either the product development, or industry recruitment, or the workforce side of economic development.
After a round of discussion, each group identified the top issues they felt needed to be addressed.
For production development, the group identified site development plans, a future funding plan and public-private partnerships as the top three priorities.
The talent development group identified the creation of a central hub to share industry and educational needs; communication of occupational and skill set needs; strategic communications and a continuous pipeline of workers for businesses.
After a discussion on each topic, the entire group was asked to pick one issue from each subject. The group determined a need for a funding plan for future economic development and a centrally-located hub to receive information about available careers and educational requirements.
Goodson said the next steps will be to gather all of the information discussed during the meeting and then begin picking out topics that can be addressed in both the long-term and short-term.
“The top two are long-term goals and they happen to be the most expensive, but there are some really good things that came out of the groups and we can start doing now,” Goodson said. “After we get the report back from (Creative Economic Development Consulting), we will talk with the county commissioners and other leaders to see how we can fund some of these short-term goals and use that as a platform to update everyone.”
Steve Jackson, chairman of the Davidson EDC board, said the meeting was about connecting the community and controlling the future of economic development in the area.
“It is controlling from the stand point of our product, but also controlling our future strategically,” Jackson said. “We are also connecting with each other; there are some great things that are going on in education and businesses don’t always know about, so we have to be connected. I would remind you that together we can do this better exponentially than if we add the sum of all our efforts. We are going to see some great accomplishment when we all pull together.”
Sharon Myers can be reached at (336) 249-3981, ext. 228, or firstname.lastname@example.org