“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, Cherokee’s first co-working space for innovators, with 24 current members.
- 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 150 film and television productions since 2020, including more than 15 feature films and dozens of television programs.
- COED engaged with over 160 film prospects in 2022, a 30% increase since 2021.
- 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 hosts the annual Cherokee Career Expo, which has helped more than 2,220 job seekers and 40 local businesses.
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.
Partnering with private and public sector leaders, partners and stakeholders in and around Cherokee County, COED developed Cherokee By Choice 2.0 – the next-level five-year economic growth and resiliency initiative for Cherokee County. CBC 2.0 builds on our existing goals, but prioritizes:
- Attracting, retaining and aligning talent
- Growing innovative businesses, investment and jobs
- Developing infrastructure and product
The inaugural 2018 – 2022 Cherokee By Choice initiative resulted in 57 new business locations and existing business expansions, more than 2,000 new jobs, $450+ million in capital investment and many other successes in our film industry, entrepreneurship, talent and other work.
To learn more about Cherokee By Choice 2.0 and get involved, click here.