Regional Thinking in Chattanooga
Volkswagen announced this summer that they will open a new manufacturing plant in Chattanooga, TN. Ground has already been broken, and the project is expected to bring 2,000 jobs to the area.
The new plant represents a huge economic development win for the city, it is also driving regional cooperation in the Chattanooga Tri-State area.
The Chattanooga (TN) Area Chamber of Commerce recently led business and community leaders from across the area on an intercity visit to Greenville, SC to explore lesson's learned from that city's experience with BMW. The German automaker has operated a manufacturing plant in Greenville since the early 90's.
More than 100 public officials, businesspeople, educators and other community leaders from Chattanooga and nearby counties in Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama participated in the visit to Greenville. While there, the group studied four areas: K-12 Education; Higher Education & Workforce Development; Industrial Development & Physical Infrastructure; and Relocation Marketing, Community Assimilation & Quality of Life.
At a recent meeting last Friday following their return from Greenville, Hamilton County, TN Mayor Claude Ramsey affirmed the importance of regional cooperation:
"Citizens in our region don't think twice about crossing state or county lines to go to work or shop or buy a house. We all stand to benefit from economic development projects that locate anywhere within our region, and we can achieve the greatest benefit from these opportunities if we work together on issues like workforce development, transportation, and the like."
Tom Edd Wilson, president and CEO of the Chattanooga Area Chamber, was on hand to present a follow up report that highlighted the following regional goals:
- Think and act regionally.
- Prepare for changes in education and workforce training.
- Be transparent in hiring.
- Pay attention to minority involvement.
- Create effective communication channels.
- Bridge the cultures.
- Prepare for growth.
- Calibrate community expectations.
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For more information on intercity visits go to www.acce.org/icvto download ACCE's latest publication - A Guide to Intercity Visits: Community Development through Leadership Exchange.