Misti Martin discusses Cherokee Office of Economic Development goals and initiatives
Source: Cherokee Tribune
WOODSTOCK — The Cherokee Office of Economic Development is placing an emphasis on bringing more jobs and companies to Cherokee County.
Misti Martin, president and CEO of COED, provided updates on the organization’s various projects, initiatives and goals Friday at IN WDSTK‘s monthly Morning INfluence meeting.
Martin said COED has come up with several initiatives to help grow businesses, investments and jobs, as well as continuing working toward the goal of allowing more opportunities for Cherokee residents to work in the county.
“We are looking at what we can do right now to stop the bleeding to help our companies find employees that they need to be successful and then what are we doing for the pipeline for the future,” she said. “If we don’t have land for business, we aren’t going to have any business. We want to grow our startups here and help them be successful, while also recruiting diversified companies that will employee our people so that they can work in their home community, grow quality jobs and diversify the tax base.”
Some of the target sectors for COED that Martin said would help to achieve these goals locally include bringing in cybersecurity and data sectors, corporate and regional headquarters, creatives and technology entrepreneurs and startups, advanced manufacturing companies focused on sustainable products and medical devices, developers looking to build mixed use and hotel and conference centers, as well as film and digital sectors including film production studio and video game and programming companies.
Martin said a high-tech company like Becker Robotic Equipment is an example of what COED is looking for to help bring more jobs locally.
Becker Robotic Equipment is a robotics company based in Dülmen, Germany that is going to have its North American headquarters in Canton. The facility will be located at The Bluffs at Technology Park near the Riverstone area.
The company is expected to invest more than $30 million through its Canton headquarters, Martin said. Overall development is expected to be about $74 million, with the creation of 304 jobs.
Handmade rug and home furnishings company Jaipur Living is another example of a business coming to Cherokee County and creating more jobs, Martin said.
In 2021, Jaipur Living announced that it was expanding its North American headquarters at Cherokee 75 Corporate Park in southwest Cherokee, adding a 192,072-square-foot expansion to their existing 179,727-square-foot headquarters building.
The project created 64 jobs with a capital investment of about $21 million, Martin said.
Other companies where COED has recruited new businesses and expanding industries include Chart Industries, CaliFino Tequila, DAGARD USA, Dumpalast USA, Northside Hospital Cherokee, PLAE, Pillow Perfect, Piolax Corporation, Quest One Aerospace, Thomas Regout, Inc., Universal Alloy Corporation and IMI, she said.
COED and Cherokee County are also looking at the over 346,000 square feet of space off Bluffs Parkway in Canton, to market to corporate companies, Martin said. Also in this same area, there is over 770,000 square feet with proposed real estate development.
Martin added that the first phase of construction of the 50-acre Canton Corporate Park on Highway 20 is set to start soon, Martin said. The corporate park will be at 9011 Knox Bridge Highway.
There are also about 64 acres of land in “The Bluffs” area of Canton, north of the Riverstone area, available for development.
Martin also said that, through federal American Rescue Plan Act funding, COED has been able to further put focus on workforce development and job assistance. A total of $2.5 million in ARPA funds has gone into projects including enhancing the COED website and careers page, expanding internships, wage and benefit and skills gap analysis, as well as the Work in Cherokee Campaign.
Part of the ARPA funding has also gone toward constructing a new mobile workshop for Be Bro Be Proud Georgia, which is an initiative COED launched in 2020. Since its launch, the mobile workshop has reached over 43,000 students and stopped at over 100 schools, Martin said.
The Be Pro Be Proud mobile classroom visits schools throughout Cherokee County and Georgia to teach students about high-demand technical careers in Georgia and provide students the chance to try hands-on activities related to these careers.
An additional $3 million of ARPA funding has gone toward supporting over 70 Cherokee small businesses through grants and resources, as well as improvements to the water and sewer infrastructure to grow businesses, she said.