“So, what do you do?” We get asked that a lot. Even describing economic development can be a daunting task. At our core, we connect the public and private sector to create community wealth providing our residents with higher paying jobs, our existing companies with impeccable customer service and new companies with flexible resources. With laser focus, our team is here to meet your needs… and have a little fun doing it. Below is a list of our services.
What We Do
Focus on Entrepreneurship
- COED supports entrepreneurs through the Fresh Start Cherokee initiative, which provides entrepreneurial education opportunities to help entrepreneurs launch or grow their startup close to home.
- COED, in partnership with Chattahoochee Technical College and the Woodstock Office of Economic Development, operates The Circuit, a coworking space for innovators, with 22 members from 15 companies.
- Nearly 1,000 attendees at entrepreneurship programs and events in 2017 alone.
- More than 500 engagements and meetings with startups, small businesses and entrepreneurs.-
- COED has assisted in locating more than 70 film and television productions over the last five years, including more than 15 feature films and dozens of television programs.
- COED has engaged with more than 360 film prospects over 5 years, a 464% increase since 2011.
- More than 150 local properties are listed on Georgia’s Reel-Scout database thanks to COED’s efforts.
- Through the Cherokee Workforce Collaborative, COED convened business, education, and workforce stakeholders to evaluate labor market and education data, analyze workforce needs and develop strategic goals and action items to address the identified talent gaps.
- COED hosted the annual Cherokee Career Expo, which attracted more than 1,800 job seekers and 40 local businesses over the last two years.
Solving Challenges and Seeking Opportunities
COED has a compelling history of success, but by increasing staff and enhanced resources, it can tackle the challenges and opportunities Cherokee County faces.
The county has a highly educated and skilled workforce, but nearly 80 percent of working-age residents leave the county for work — one of the highest out-commute rates in metro Atlanta.
- Residents spend significant time in traffic, affecting quality of life and businesses’ productivity.
- Cherokee businesses draw workers from other counties, causing even more road congestion.
- Residents working in other areas spend money there, instead of Cherokee County, reducing local retail revenues and sales tax dollars that could otherwise go to infrastructure and education.
COED will work to connect local businesses with local workers and to reduce the overall out-commute of talent and resources that leave the County.
Demand for Skilled Talent
Local businesses often compete for top talent and struggle to stay fully-staffed.
- Cherokee County’s unemployment rate is lower than the national and state average.
- Local schools and institutions of higher learning can better align education goals with the needs of Cherokee County’s businesses.
COED will work with local schools to prepare people for the jobs that Cherokee’s businesses need filled now and in the future. COED will also market Cherokee County as a destination for great careers so local high school graduates stay here and college graduates want to move here.
Shortage of Business / Industrial Property and Workforce to Attract Companies and Jobs
Businesses looking to locate or expand need move-in ready space that can serve various needs.
- The county needs to increase the inventory of land and commercial space that can be used for offices, warehouses, manufacturing, and other purposes.
- Diverse land uses, rather than primarily residential, can improve tax revenues and the burden on services.
- COED will work with developers, owners, local governments and others to make Cherokee “shovel-ready” for new businesses.
Recently, COED and Boyette Strategic Advisors (“Boyette”) conducted a thorough strategic planning process which involved:
- Reviewing current economic development activities and programs in the county
- Receiving input from 2,400 participants through individual interviews, group discussions and online surveys of residents and businesses
- Developing strategies to ensure that Cherokee County remains competitive in the future
COED and Boyette then drafted the “Opportunity Cherokee” strategic initiative, which guides the efforts of COED in continuing to recruit, retain and expand businesses to create jobs, develop a stronger workforce and create the infrastructure and land / buildings for new and expanding businesses.