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South Carolina competes on a global scale, LCDC annual meeting participants reminded
The economy is changing, and we need to change with it." - Nelson Lindsay, SC Dept. of Commerce

UPDATE: LINK TO INNOVATION PLAN Laurens County Development Corporation officials and industry representatives know they compete in a global market - and state officials are right on board, lending a worldwide view of economic development.

At today's LCDC Annual Meeting, Nelson Lindsay, global business development, SC Department of Commerce, and Jon Coleman, LCDC executive director, brought information about state and local efforts to attract industries, investment dollars and jobs. Coleman said Phase 3 of the Center for Advanced Manufacturing, a division of Piedmont Technical College, is getting ready to start in Laurens. "That has been a Godsend for our county," Coleman said.

The CAM is so successful in developing the Laurens County workforce to industries' specifications that it is a model for the state and nation. Other counties and tech ed centers are following suit to dedicate a building and equipment, notably robotics, to training the next generation of manufacturing employees. Coleman said the ZF Transmissions internship program and the Laurens County Future Scholarship also are cutting-edge programs to assist young people in landing and keeping 21st Century jobs.

Coleman said new investment has pushed the average wage in Laurens County from $15.07/hour in 2015 to $15.70/hour in 2016. New industries and expansions are generating $600,000 a year for the county tax base, he said.

Lindsay said the last 6 years have been record-breakers for economic development in South Carolina. "and we are competing against much larger states." He said 2016 was "a very solid year" with 131 projects announcing $3.4 billion in new investments. "We continue to do very well in automotive and existing industries," he said. "We are looking to diversify."

Lindsay said South Carolina is home to the world's most recognizable industry brands. "A slide like this (pictured above) gives us a lot of credibility," he said.

More on the 2016 LCDC Annual Meeting will be in the Jan. 25 issue of The Clinton Chronicle.



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