Survey says…..

In doing research for a presentation by an associate on strategic planning, I ran across the following excerpt from the study, Community Opinions on Economic Development in the South by Thomas W. Ilvento:

Rural residents in the South face a dilemma when looking at economic development. On the one hand there is a strong attachment to their community and their way of life. The respondents indicated they like the small town nature of their community, a sense of shared values, friendliness, and absence of traffic and pollution. However, they also recognize the need for growth and change. Residents were worried about jobs and the future, for themselves and their children. The aspects of the community that received the lowest ratings were for opportunities, recreation, and transportation, all of which could improve with new development.

As a result, rural residents were cautious about economic development. They supported most of the typical development strategies, but preferred some over others. In particular, self-help training programs were highest on the list. Interestingly, tax incentives, which is a dominant strategy used by state governments, received much lower support, with less than 40 percent in favor. Rural residents in the South indicated they were less supportive of growth that favored new residents over existing residents, and jobs that went to executives rather than to labor. The also had high expectations for new industry in terms of involvement in the community, education, further economic development, and cultural events.

Surveys on what prospective industry is looking for in a community identify a conflict. They look for incentives that help with upfront start-up or relocation costs and for deal ready sites. Also, prospective industry prefer a workforce with good basic skills, soft skills (a good work ethic like we have in Hickman County, communication skills, customer service skills, etc.) and for economic development training to be specialized and job specific.

About Daryl Phillips, CEcD

I am a professional economic developer. I presently work for communities and companies in developing and implementing workforce and economic development solutions as CEO of Phillips Economic Development Solutions (Phi EDS). Prior to September 2017, I was the economic development professional who served a community team of elected officials, business people, community leaders and dedicated stakeholders for economic development in Cheatham County, Tennessee (pop. 39,880) and its four towns. During my five-year tenure, I served the team as Cheatham County grew over 1,700 jobs, turned around population declines at the start of this decade into healthy population growth, increased tourism expenditures 20.3% and local tax revenue from tourism 25.4%, grew sales tax revenue 36%, focused on developing the local workforce and was recognized by SmartAsset as having the 9th highest Incoming Investment Index of all the 95 counties in Tennessee. I am a member of International Economic Development Council, Southern Economic Development Council, Tennessee Economic Development Council and International Council of Shopping Centers. I have earned the designation of Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) from International Economic Development Council (IEDC), the Economic Development Finance Professional (EDFP) certification from National Development Council and hold a Master of Business Administration from Tennessee Technological University.
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