Mission is to provide assistance for business success, lead advancement of economic growth
Charleston County Economic Development is a valuable business partner to local industries. The staff at the department compares their service to a business concierge, available to help business leaders with hiring, resources, relocation support or anything else they need to succeed.
That has included specialized workforce training, connecting businesses with financial assistance programs and championing for local businesses at the government level.
Since its inception in 1993, Charleston County Economic Development has helped facilitate and announce over 36,000 jobs and a $6.7 billion investment by businesses into the community.
“Our mission is to lead the advancement of economic growth and shared prosperity for all of Charleston County,” said Ashley Richardson, director of strategy and communications for Charleston County Economic Development. “We approach this through recruitment of new companies, caring for our existing industry as well as improving the business climate. The most impactful part is forming relationships with business owners for the life of their business.”
Major industries the economic development department supports are aerospace, automotive, international trade and logistics, life sciences, information technology, defense, manufacturing, distribution and corporate headquarters.
“Workforce has become more of a prominent discussion among all of the companies we help, and we have ingrained ourselves in connecting companies with resources in the area to train workers and promote job opportunities,” said Richardson. “Our relationship with a business doesn’t end with a ribbon cutting. We are an added value for the entire life of their business.”
A major success was training workers for the Mercedes-Benz Vans plant that opened its $500 million campus in 2018 in North Charleston.
“When Mercedes-Benz Vans announced their plant was opening here, they needed to hire 1,300 people in a short period of time. We rolled up our sleeves and found a way to host many job fairs and not only work with the S.C. Department of Commerce, but with Trident Technical College to offer a program (ManuFirst SC) to train workers, which expedited their hiring process and provided a wonderful skillset to future employees looking to start a career in manufacturing,” Richardson said.
Charleston County Economic Development promotes job openings across its social media platforms, resulting in recruiting top talent, and publishes positive news about business happenings to the media.
“The work that we do makes our community better,” Richardson said. “It’s rewarding seeing our citizens get jobs at one of our existing industries and create a meaningful career and better life. That’s what public service is, and we are proud to create a thriving business community in Charleston.”