Workforce of nearly one million within sixty miles of the region’s geographical center
With the global marketplace continuing to evolve, companies need a location that offers operational stability and logistical advantages that translate into long term profitability. Beyond that, companies need to know that the communities in which they are located will provide them with an ongoing support system that will help them address utility or workforce issues that they may encounter. Being in a responsive and engaged community is more important than ever.
The North Eastern Strategic Alliance (NESA), a regional non-profit economic development organization in the northeastern corner of South Carolina, has a plethora of opportunities to offer companies to help them control costs and maximize profits. As an organization, NESA is tasked with working with companies to locate manufacturing, distribution, and back office facilities to identify real estate, and help find workforce solutions.
The following are the top-five reasons companies should make the NESA Region home:
1. Quality Real Estate at Low Prices
Making a decision as to where to locate a new facility can be daunting. The NESA region realizes this, which is why they have devoted a lot of time, effort and resources into developing quality real estate. NESA and its county partners have worked together to complete due diligence projects such as boundary surveys, wetland delineation, preliminary geotechnical exploration, and other engineering due diligence on several of our more than 90 industrial sites throughout the region. This is all without mentioning, the region’s very competitive average industrial land price of $17,000 per acre.
Not looking to build something new? Don’t worry, the NESA region has a wide selection of existing buildings as well. With more than 30 industrial buildings available throughout the region and an average price of $16.76 per square foot. These buildings are available in a variety of different sizes from 30,000 up to 500,000 square feet. Want something new? At least five of the NESA regions’ counties have a spec building under construction or already complete.
2. Ready to Work Workforce
If you are seeking an experienced, well-trained, skilled and available workforce, look no farther than the NESA region. Employers use this region’s productive workforce to churn out all-terrain vehicles, pharmaceuticals, food additives, frozen meals, steel, packaging products, and much more. The region is home to companies that engage in world-wide distribution, refurbish airplanes, and are on the cutting edge of their highly-specialized fields. With a population of nearly 2.2 million and an available workforce of nearly one million within 60 miles of the region’s geographical center, the region has a very robust labor pool to draw from. And 10.8 percent of the labor force is employed in manufacturing operations, a rate which is higher than the national average of 8.6 percent.
Our region also offers a variety of workforce training resources to companies. One such resource is the state’s premiere workforce training program, ReadySC. Working together with the South Carolina Technical College System, ReadySC develops, implements, and manages custom workforce training programs to support smooth, rapid start-up operations. ReadySC works with companies to screen, recruit, and train employees to meet their demands and ensures that companies have a ready-to-work workforce the day business opens. The training is done at no cost to companies that commit to creating at least 10 new jobs.
Another unique resource is the Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology (SiMT). It is the first facility of its kind in the United States and is located on the campus of Florence-Darlington Technical College. SiMT is an advanced manufacturing center that provides the support needed by area and future industries, advancing the region’s ability to provide a highly-trained workforce. SiMT exists to partner with businesses to provide training and manufacturing technology solutions. The facility contains an Advanced Manufacturing Center, 3D/Virtual reality Center, 3D printing lab, and National Robotics Center. SiMT offers open-enrollment, onsite, and customized training.
Francis Marion University’s (FMU) Industrial Engineering program, a first of its kind in the region, will meet the engineering needs of many existing companies within the region. The university also offers undergraduate and graduate programs in business. FMU has a long history of producing outstanding graduates who become leaders within their companies and communities.
And Coastal Carolina University (CCU), recent winner of the national baseball championship, a four-year university with several graduate programs as well. CCU attracts students from all over the world and many of those students stay here upon graduation, adding diversity and international flavor to NESA’s workforce.
In addition to these great workforce training resources, the region has an extensive public and private school system and is home to the South Carolina Governor’s School of Science and Mathematics (GSSM). GSSM is the only high school in the state that offers a residential experience focused on the mastery of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. It is recognized as one of the nation’s top 24 elite public high schools. The region is also home to seven colleges and universities that prepare graduates for careers in a variety of fields.
3. Logistics, Logistics, Logistics
Located literally halfway between Miami and New York City along the I-95 corridor. We are home to two interstates, I-95 (N/S) and I-20 (E/W), with a third, I-73, planned for the future. In addition to interstate proximity, the region boasts a strong network of divided four lane highways with direct access to Charleston, SC, Charlotte, NC, and Wilmington, NC and several other metro areas.
The region’s newest addition: Inland Port Dillon, has extended the reach to global markets as it will provide access to/from the deep water port of Charleston, SC. Additionally, Inland Port Dillon is strategically located at a railroad “T” with mainline access north/south and west and will be able to service markets in the Northeastern and Midwestern sections of the country. The region is also home to the Port of Georgetown, a dedicated breakbulk and bulk cargo port. The port features open and covered storage areas, an on-terminal CSX rail connection, and efficient access to the region.
NESA is also home to two commercial airports, the Florence Regional Airport and Myrtle Beach International Airport, and are also a short drive from the Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Charleston International Airport, and the Columbia Metropolitan Airport.
Last, but certainly not least, the NESA region offers over 350 miles of rail and is home to one of only two CSX rail yards in South Carolina. The CSX facility in Florence is the headquarters for three states and is the largest rail yard in the state. Numerous cargo handling services are available via the Florence rail yard, making it possible for companies to receive increased frequency in their service.
4. Business Friendly Environment
Stable and competitive property tax and state corporate income tax rates, comprehensive incentives programs, and a cooperative regulatory environment lets companies focus on running their operations. In fact, many of our regulatory agencies have a liaison that is dedicated to making sure that companies receive high level help in completing the permitting process and that they understand the requirements. The key word that the region would like to emphasize when referring to its business-friendly environment is “help” as we are a small state with big resources. Anything from infrastructure needs to workforce training to apprenticeship programs are all just a simple phone call away for employers who are fortunate enough to locate in the NESA region. The region is indeed here to help companies maximize their success.
5. Ongoing Support
For NESA and its member counties, it is not just about recruiting new businesses for the purpose of getting a “win”, instead it is about building a lasting cooperative business relationship. As mentioned earlier, the region has numerous support mechanisms that are a simple phone call away. NESA wants to work with companies and to see them grow and add capacity and jobs here in the region.