“Unless something unforeseen happens at the national level, 2013 is going to be a good year for us,” Daniel Jackson, president/CEO of Carroll County Chamber of Commerce, said Wednesday. “We’ll soon be announcing new industries coming here, with chances for placement all over the county. Competition is strong for new industry, but we believe we’ll be able to share new location news.”
Jackson said existing industries are also expected to expand their operations and make new investments in equipment, which will translate into additional employment.
He said it’s important to save jobs, and existing industries have been able to do that by redirecting employment through new training and reassignments. Jackson said education and the business community have been working closely together, and that collaboration will be a positive force for attracting new industry.
“University of West Georgia reached an all-time high enrollment this year,” he said, “ and West Georgia Technical College is the fourth largest technical college in the state.”
Jackson noted that UWG is building dormatories and other new buildings, while WGTC is expanding its athletic offerings to include football.
He said city and county school systems are showing new interest in technical education, STEM (science, technology, energy and math) programs and robotics. The College and Career Academy is allowing students to get technical training, with dual credits in high school and technical college.
“All these programs are important in preparing students for the work force,” Jackson said. “Southwire is expanding its ‘12 For Life’ program, and Tanner Health System now has a work-study program with high school students.”
He said these are all positive signs that a focus on technical education will continue in the community.
Jackson said Carroll County abounds with tourism opportunities as well, with a strong system of city and county parks and recreation programs.
He praised new downtown attractions, such as the amphitheaters in Carrollton and Villa Rica, for bringing people to the downtown areas.
“In the private sector, Historic Banning Mills has set world records for its ziplines and climbing wall,” he said. “All these things bring people and dollars into our community."
Jackson said the retail sector has seen a lot of growth in the past year, with new restaurants, such as Olive Garden, Steak and Shake and Bojangles locating here, along with a major expansion of the Kroger supermarket.
“Retail growth is happening all over the community,” he said.
Jackson praised Tanner Health System for its growth and expansion and for being recognized as a national leader in healthcare.
“There’s been a focus from Tanner on health and wellness for a better community,” he said. “We’re going to see more trails and greenspace for parks. This will help create a more productive workforce and all the benefits that go along with healthy living.”
Jackson said Carroll County also has stable government and leadership, which helps promote a thriving economy.
“All these things are in place and are the reasons we anticipate a very good year,” he said.