EDC seeks vision for job creation

City Manager James Taylor gestures while explaining the value of creating a cohesive vision for the EDC. Also pictured are EDC board members from left, Christopher Pike, Jimmy Wilson and Aaron Johnson.

City Manager James Taylor gestures while explaining the value of creating a cohesive vision for the EDC. Also pictured are EDC board members from left, Christopher Pike, Jimmy Wilson and Aaron Johnson.

ALBANY, Ga. — An independent consult recently reported that Albany and Dougherty County lacks a clear, community-wide vision when pertaining to job creation.

Members of the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission tasked its staff Wednesday with researching facilitators to begin that process.

Board Chairman Jay Smith said that the JANUS consultants — the people who made the report — left Albany with a largely favorable impression, but that were some areas where more work was needed.

“We know they saw a lot of good things. The comments they have were positive. But like anything, we have areas were we can work on,” Smith said. “We need to talk things through and think about what our next steps should be.”

The consultants identified the lack of a skilled, educated workforce as the top challenge in recruiting new business and jobs in Dougherty County — a challenge noted by EDC President Ted Clem as tough given that the EDC has no involvement or authority with the school system or any of the colleges or universities.

“That’s one of the top components of economic growth. The school board is its own government agency but at some point we’re going to have to address the issue of education,” City Commissioner and EDC Board Member Christopher Pike said. “One of the biggest challenges to recruiting jobs to Albany is the school system.”

The lack of skilled labor is something that existing industries are concerned about, Barbara Rivera-Holmes, the EDC’s Director of Business Retention and Expansion, told board members.

In surveys that are under way with existing industries, Holmes said that some have expressed difficulty in finding people with high-tech skills and training.

“They’ve said that there are difficulties finding people like chemical engineers and electrical engineers,” she said.

The workforce component would be part of an effort to develop a new vision for how to move economic development forward in Dougherty County.

“Without a vision, we’re walking around in circles or not walking around at all,” City Manager and EDC Board Member James Taylor said. “A visioning effort is critical ... I think its to our benefit to find the money to have it done.”

Clem said that staff would begin researching the best way to begin the initiative and look to organizations like the University of Georgia or Georgia Tech for facilitators.


wilson 3 years, 4 months ago

We have a paid EDC staff, a sitting EDC Board, all of the elected City officials and paid City employees and we need to "find the money" to hire a consultant to tell us what our economic vision should be. If knowing how to attract business, grow jobs, stimulate the economy, etc. isn't a major part of the job description for EDC president then what is? The whole idea that we suddenly realized no one involved has a clue as to what they are even trying to do would be funny if it were not so profoundly sad.


pettibone 3 years, 4 months ago

Once again the city wants to hire their buddies. They will never admit it, but everytime we need to know what is going on in our city we have to go to Georgia or Georgia Tech. They act as if Albany State Universary is not good enough to facilitator any meeting in Albany-Dougherty County even though the university has a $ 185 Million dollar impact on the community. Stop given our money to outside groups and people who live in other Counties.


TrixibelleBento 3 years, 4 months ago

"Good enough to facilitator"? "Stop given our money..."? That's the reason why right there.


wilson 3 years, 4 months ago

The point is we'll be paying a consultant to do the job of the EDC staff. If the "professionals" at EDC and their Board, don't have a "vision" for job creation then what have they been doing and what have we been getting from the dollars spent at EDC?


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