May 132013



Monday, May 13, 2013

The vast majority of the East Carolina University students who graduated over the weekend and those receiving diplomas from Pitt Community College tonight depart higher education with the common purpose of finding work. Unemployment has dipped somewhat of late thanks to economic recovery, but chronic joblessness remains a problem here in Greenville and Pitt County.

It was therefore interesting to see two presentations about economic development delivered last week, proposing strategies to make this community more amenable to potential business. Both reaffirmed the conclusion that innovating thinking, unshakable determination and cooperation across the public and private spheres offer the best hope of facilitating job growth.

Area residents and officials alike cheered two positive developments last week affecting the workforce. ASMO North America, an automotive parts manufacturer, will expand its Greenville operations and intends to hire as many as 200 new employees by 2016. Additionally, Walmart opened a hiring center to staff its new location in the city, with the potential of hiring 300 workers.

The announcements offer further evidence that the sluggish economic recovery may be gaining traction and could soon create employment opportunities for the thousands still without work. However, savvy officials know they must seize the momentum at this critical opportunity by creating an atmosphere more conducive to business expansion and recruitment.

Two presentations last week offered strategic approaches toward that end. First, at the May 6 City Council meeting, members received an economic development assessment that defined Greenville’s strengths and recommended ways to improve on weaknesses. Then, at a Wednesday event, Greenville-Pitt County Chamber of Commerce President Susanne Sartelle outlined the findings of a report that assessed the county’s potential for business growth.

There were some similarities. Both highlighted the need for infrastructure that supports new and expanding industry. Likewise, they underscored the value of having a long-term vision rather than demanding short-term results, noting the importance of stability. And each recognized the strength of cooperation rather than competition among agencies promoting economic development.

Turning around the local job market will be no easy task, but it is reassuring to see that so many of the community’s resources are being focused on that priority. Signs of hope are evident and this is the time for local officials to put forth the effort needed to lure new industry, support the growth of existing business and put the area’s thousands of jobless residents back to work.

via The Daily Reflector.


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