Business possible announcement of expansions. We have also experienced positive interest from companies looking to locate in this area in the near future. SRS (Savannah River Site) has stated that they intend to hire 2,000 new workers in the next five years,” said Tommy Boyleston, executive director of the Barnwell County Economic Development Commission. “Over the last 20 years, SouthernCarolina Alliance and Barnwell County have laid the groundwork for future success by diversifying our economy and focusing on product development and infrastructure. By recruiting manufacturing outside of the textile industry and SRS missions, which were once the primary employers in Barnwell County, we now have several other industry clusters operating in the area, including plastics and composites, forest products, chemicals, and metal fabrication,” said Black. “In addition, we continue to bring new companies to the area, and we are seeing more of those companies affiliated with the surrounding automotive and aerospace industries.” Another plus for the entire region is the federal Promise Zone designation, which Black believes is a benefit to local and county governments, schools and civic organizations. Being designated as a Promise Zone gives preference to the region on applications for federal grants. SCA is the lead agency. “The S.C. Promise Zone is a ten-year designation that will make it easier for our communities to access assistance for a myriad of projects in our region in health care, housing, education, and economic development, among other sectors. Since October of 2015, the region’s organizations have received almost $14 million in Promise Zone funding; we have also announced $410,450,000 in private capital
FROM PAGE 11 investment and 314 new jobs,” said Black. Both the EDC and SCA are looking forward to the possibilities 2017 brings for Barnwell County. Boyleston said their goals for 2017 include “improving our product (industrial parks and industrial buildings), coordinating with SCA to market Barnwell County to interests around the world, assisting our existing industry as they succeed and grow, providing assistance for small business development and entrepreneurship, working alongside several agencies in workforce improvement, and generally promoting Barnwell County as a good place to live, work, play and do business.” SCA also believes the future of the region is “brighter than ever. Our plans for 2017 include identifying and developing state-of-the-art industrial parks and buildings to attract industries; assisting our counties and municipalities with community development issues such as infrastructure, health care facilities, and schools when requested and within our ability to help; and, of course, recruiting companies from around the world to our area,” said Black. Barnwell County is also home to many small businesses that provide job opportunities and much-needed services, such as restaurants, family owned stores, auto body shops, car dealerships, gift shops and landscaping businesses, to name just a few. Several new small businesses opened in 2016 with more expected to open in 2017, meaning more good news for Barnwell County. The Barnwell County Chamber of Commerce is another resource for local businesses – large and small. It provides professional development opportunities, networking events and free advertisements for its members.
12 • Information Please 2017 • The People-Sentinel
A guide to Barnwell County, SC