Happy Economic Development Week!
On the final day of Economic Development Week, we’re discussing the backbone of economic development – existing industry. While existing industry doesn’t tend to receive the attention that new job announcements receive, expansions account for the majority - as much of 80 percent - of new jobs created.
We understand the importance of existing industry support. Here are a few examples of existing industry assistance that we provide.
Regular existing industry visits – Members of the project management team routinely meet with existing industry representatives. The visits provide an opportunity for our team to stay in the loop and learn more about current company needs and pain points. Whether its support for expansion, a connection to a workforce development agency, assistance scheduling a meeting with TNECD representatives, and anything in between, our staff is passionate about supporting our existing industry and ensuring they have all of the tools necessary to thrive.
FIRST – In 2014, NETWORKS launched the FIRST program. The program’s name is derived from the values on which it is built – Focus, Innovation, Results, Synergy, and Together – as well as an appropriate title of the economic development community’s prioritizing existing business and industry services.
Services and activities offered by the FIRST program include: one-on-one visits, group meetings that build a support system of economic development and workforce resources as well as peers for management and HR professionals, meaningful surveys and data collection (that offer results and useful information to our corporate citizens, not just from them), and various initiatives that address common issues among our major employers.
Special events – In 2018, existing industry representatives from Sullivan and Hawkins counties hopped on a charter bus and visited Oak Ridge National Lab. The tour, led by Jesse Smith, Manager of Industrial Partnerships and Economic Development, was tailored to the industry sectors represented in the group. As a result of this visit, multiple local industries now utilize resources provided by the lab.
We continue to research and pursue special events that are valuable for our existing industry partners and ways to provide them at zero cost to those partners.