May 8, 2019
As the newest member of the Charleston Regional Development Alliance, I have much to learn about economic development and what drives Charleston’s economy. After all, I’ve spent the last seven years of my career walking the halls of Capitol Hill!
In six short weeks, here are my three biggest takeaways:
When you think “innovation,” you probably think of New York City or Silicon Valley. Charleston is more well known for tourism and food, but it’s also home to some truly innovative thinking. Our region is home to several institutions of higher education like Trident Technical College, the Medical University of South Carolina, and the College of Charleston who are creating a workforce pipeline for a wide variety of occupations and investing in cutting edge research. Charleston also is home to a growing tech industry – I was shocked to learn more than 500 tech companies are in the region!
Growing up in Indiana, I’ve spent most of my life surrounded by the automotive industry. I wondered how this area became so attractive to major automotive companies like Volvo and Mercedes-Benz Vans, and I quickly found my answer. One major factor is our location: the deepest harbor in the south Atlantic at the Port of Charleston, a growing airport, and easy access to plenty of rail and interstates are key for the automotive industry to be successful. The other major factor is our extremely talented workforce, which leads me to my third takeaway…
This region is chock-full of educated, skilled workers, and that number is growing all the time! 63% of workers have some post-secondary education. Twenty-six people move here per day (the majority of whom are highly-educated), so we’re always adding to our labor pool.
Many of the people moving here are just like me: millennials with college degrees who are looking for a mid-size metro with plenty of career opportunities, a unique culture, and a high quality of life. It’s no surprise WalletHub named Charleston the #1 Best Place to Start a Career. With world class companies and a group of talented residents, who wouldn’t want to start their career here?