Please join us and other regional leaders for IPDC’s Board Meeting on Wednesday, October 4th at the Universal Advanced Manufacturing Center in Marion [634 College Dr. Marion, NC 28752].  Lunch will be served at 11:45 a.m. and the meeting will begin at 12:15 p.m. This will be the Roll out of the Isothermal Regional Economic Development Strategy.  Our Featured Speaker will be Deputy Secretary of Commerce Napoleon Wallace.  
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September 18, 2017
Contact: Scott Dadson, Executive Director
828-287-2281, ext. 250

Region C WDB Hiring Events Show Continued Success

A tight labor market and a shortage of workers are slowing employment growth across our region, making it more difficult for industry to fill vacant positions, especially in manufacturing and construction.   This can have a negative impact on our communities’ economic development initiatives to attract new industry and grow existing industry.

The Region C Workforce Development Board, the Division of Workforce Solutions, our regional community colleges, Chambers of Commerce, and regional economic development organizations, have partnered together to implement a new approach to assist businesses in recruiting talent.   Working together, these partners have conducted a number of “Hiring Events” targeted to specific employers.  To date, all the events have focused on manufacturing companies, including: Baxter Labs, Everest Textiles, Columbia Forest Products, International Automotive Components, WestRock, Uniquetex, and Clearwater Paper.   Outreach for the events has been conducted through a successful mixture of social media, print media outlets, e-mail, and the NCWorks offices.  Utilizing Facebook for targeted marketing, we have been able to reach over 31,000 total people for our nine Hiring Events so far!

Recruitment has been focused to the needs of the specific company, and has resulted in an increased number of appropriate candidates for the open positions.    The targeted employers receive more specific attention at the Hiring Event, and the attendees/potential applicants have a greater interest and understanding of the jobs that are available. 

The nine Hiring Events that have been held since early 2017 have resulted in the attendance of over 1,100 applicants, and has resulted in numerous job offers.   Industry representatives have indicated that those applicants were of high quality and appreciate the specific attention.    Several companies, including WestRock, are planning to utilize this process as a regular component of their recruitment and hiring efforts.   According to WestRock General Manager Andy Beach, “We really appreciate the targeted approach that is resulting in more quality candidates in a shorter period of time.   The department managers feel that the hiring events are a more efficient method of recruitment with the opportunity to increase their percentage of qualified applicants”. 

Keep an eye on our Facebook page,, for future Hiring Events in our region. 
Agriculture and Solar

“The growth of solar farms represents a huge opportunity for the North Carolina sheep industry,” says the study from the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center, a public service of North Carolina State University.  

Great article on Solar and Agriculture.

NADO Participating in House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee

This week, NADO will take part in a House subcommittee hearing on infrastructure and economic development titled “Building a 21st Century Infrastructure for America: Economic Development Stakeholders’ Perspectives.”  Justin Hembree, Executive Director of Land of Sky Regional Council and NADO Board Member, is scheduled to testify for the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management.  Mr. Hembree will discuss the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) role in supporting local and regional economic priorities while emphasizing the agency’s significant contribution to advancing infrastructure in small and rural communities.  Additionally, NADO Members Bill Seigel with SEDA-Council of Governments and Brett Doney from Great Falls Development Authority will also appear before the committee.  The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. ET.  A live stream will be available here
Rural Broadband

"North Carolina’s electric cooperatives see high-speed connectivity as a necessity for utility operations, as well as for consumers to take advantage of energy technology. Benefits to communities span education, medical and economic development opportunities."  For more see Rural Broadband Arcitle in Electric Co-op Magazine here.

Several of  our Countys in Region C are conducting surveys regarding access to Broadband.  Check them out or go to the survey in the article to make sure you are letting State Leaders know what your broadband needs are. 

Rutherford County Transit ridership increases 48 percent


When the Rutherford County Transit's fixed bus route, which runs though Rutherfordton, Spindale, and Forest City on a set schedule was first established, the fare was $1. While the route was popular, its ridership has increased dramatically since becoming a free service in October, 2015. Transit officials say that since that time, as of the end of the last fiscal year (June 30), ridership is up 48 percent.

The service became “fare free” on a trial basis, and saw an immediate increase. Officials decided to keep the service free as more citizens use it.

Rutherford County Transit was established in 1990 and is a self-funded department within Rutherford County government. The increased ridership on the fixed bus route, makes it easier to obtain grant funding for the transit service. Officials say it more than offsets the loss of funds that were collected when the service charged a fare.

“County leadership is pleased to see that our transit services are being utilized and that our ridership continues to expand,” said County Manger Steve Garrison. “Providing this service ensures that we continue to play a vital role in transporting our customers to critical medical appointments, to their places of employment, and to commercial businesses.”

“Providing core transportation services is also very critical for families that are focused on managing their budgets, which creates an exponential economic impact benefiting local businesses,” Garrison added.

County Commission Chairman Bryan King said “One of the County Commission goals is to improve the quality of life for our citizens. I applaud the transit officials and the county manager for implementing this.”

King said the bus service improves the lives of the people who use it.

“This is a service that is important. And it is a win-win for all involved,” King added. “I am pleased to see that it is such as success.”

Among the numerous pre-set stops along the bus route are places like Rutherford County Courthouse, various grocery stores and shopping centers including Fred's and WalMart, the Rutherford Community Health Center in Spindale, and several apartment communities.

Transit officials have described the service as similar to a typical urban bus route, except that this service is “deviated.” This means that if requested, and it is feasible, drivers may deviate up to one-half mile off the set route to pick someone up or let them off the bus.

The Rutherford County Transit's budget for the 2017-2018 fiscal year is $1,389,692. No county tax dollars are used for transit, as the department is funded through state and federal transportation grants.

Economic Development; Preparing the Fields for Growth here in Isothermal Region

An interesting article appeared in Bloomberg (see here) regarding the deployment of technology innovation and the widespread affect it could have on Cities and communities around the US.  We are preparing the field here at your Planning Commission.  There will be six symposiums over the next year, on topics ranging from Employee Owned Business' to Housing to Transportation for Workforce.  Come see more about this and efforts of folks in the Region on October 4, 2017 in Marion for the IPDC Meeting and Roll out of the Isothermal Regional Economic Development Strategy.  Our Featured Speaker will be Deputy Secretary of Commerce Napoleon Wallace.  

IPDC’s Board Meeting on Wednesday, October 4th at the Universal Advanced Manufacturing Center in Marion [634 College Dr. Marion, NC 28752].  Lunch will be served at 11:45 a.m. and the meeting will begin at 12:15 p.m
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Isothermal Planning and Development Commission
111 West Court Street Rutherfordton, NC 28139
Phone: (828) 287-2281
Fax: (828) 287-2735

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Isothermal Planning and Development Commission · 111 West Court Street · Post Office Box 841 · Rutherfordton, NC 28139 · USA

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