Thursday, December 18, 2008

Study Helps Officials to Target Specific Industries for Area Recruitment

A study of how to bring industry to southern Middle Tennessee suggests targeting specific industrial clusters such as the auto industry, metal manufacturing, precision instruments and agribusiness, including breweries and distilleries, as well as exploring the potential for high technology and tourism.
The study also suggests counties should work together and market themselves as regions when it comes to industrial recruitment.
The study was done by Middle Tennessee State University’s Business and Economic Research Center on behalf of the Middle Tennessee Marketing Region composed of Bedford, Coffee, Franklin, Giles, Hickman, Lawrence, Lewis, Lincoln, Marshall, Maury, Moore, Perry, Warren and Wayne counties.
“We came together with the other counties in the region and each submitted ten industrial clusters we each felt we want to target for recruitment to the area,” said Terry Wallace, Lewisburg Economic and Community Development Director. “The study took our recommendations as well as a massive amount of data on the region and developed a game plan, of sorts, for us to market the region better for industrial recruitment.”
The study recommends targeting four major clusters to promote inter-industry linkages:
· The automotive industry – Local economic development officials recently traveled to Germany in hopes of attracting supplier business for the new Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga.
· Advanced metal manufacturing, including machine tools, nondurable industry machinery, metalworking and fabricated metal products.
· Information technology and precision instruments, such as optical equipment and instruments, computer and electronic equipment, and information services.
· Agribusiness, including breweries and distilleries and packaged goods products – Currently, the region has three distilleries, Jack Daniels, George Dickel and Pritchard’s, a rum distillery in Lincoln County.
The study further suggested exploring a couple of emerging industry clusters to see how they can be developed:
· Aerospace and defense, alternative energy, high technology, and
· Tourism and agribusiness – the study noted the power of attractions in the region like Jack Daniels, George Dickel, Bonnaroo Music Festival and the Tennessee Walking Horse Celebration.
The study recommends a regional marketing campaign and workforce analysis. It also says that workforce education in the region “requires immediate attention.” According to the data from the study, workforce quality is the number one key gap in industrial recruitment for the region.
“We have to do a better job of educating and training our children for the future but we also do a much better job of educating, training and re-training our current workforce,” Wallace said. “We have to create a higher-skilled workforce, not only in Marshall County but in the region.”
The study calls for “setting up branch campuses of area universities” such as MTSU’s plan to set up a satellite campus in Shelbyville. The study also calls for expanding access to broadband Internet throughout rural areas. Connect Tennessee is a statewide project that is focusing on expanding broadband access throughout rural Tennessee on a model similar to the project in Kentucky. Marshall County has a chapter of Connect Tennessee that has been meeting for several months gathering data and creating a campaign to assist in expanding broadband throughout the county.
The study measured and assessed many of the challenges facing the region as the new dawn of global economics continues to shift and change; but it also assists the region in preparing a game plan to improve the quality of its workforce, upgrade infrastructure and address small business concerns. Using the industry target model, the region should be better able to position itself for future industrial recruitment insuring job growth and economic vitality in the region.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.