By BF Editors
From the January/February 2023 issue
In 2022, North Carolina was recognized as the #1 in America’s Top States For Business by CNBC. With a tax rate of 2.5%, The Tar Heel State hosts one of the most competitive tax environments, with the goal of reaching 0% by 2030. In addition to having a low tax rate, the state also offers building costs, electricity costs, and cost of living all below the national average. Meanwhile, Business Facilities has named this southeastern locale its 2022 State of the Year (see cover story).
Among the programs North Carolina has in place to foster business growth is the Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG). This grant is an incentive program that provides grants directly to new and expanding companies to help offset the cost of locating or expanding a facility in the state. JDIG also allows for additional incentives for businesses with qualifying project types, including High-Yield Projects, any company creating 1,750 jobs and investing $500 million; Transitional Projects, projects that occur in stages; and Transformative Projects, any business that creates 3,000 jobs and invests $1 billion.
Mosaic is the commercial center of Chatham Park, the development bringing over 20,000 residential units and 22 million square feet of commercial space to Chatham County. (Photo: Chatham Economic Development Corporation)
Chatham County Keeps Projects Moving
Chatham County, North Carolina is still on the move. In 2022, electric vehicle manufacturer VinFast announced it would build a new production facility at the Triangle Innovation Point in the southeastern portion of the county. On the western side, semiconductor manufacturer Wolfspeed picked the Chatham-Siler City Advanced Manufacturing (CAM) site for the location of their silicon carbide materials production facility. The combined jobs and investment totaled 9,300 and $9 billion, respectively. The Triangle Innovation Point West site, adjacent to VinFast, has 300 shovel-ready acres ripe for development. FedEx has landed a distribution center at the site, which has easy access to the four-lane divided freeway U.S. 1. The Midstate Development Center, a business park located beside the CAM site, is the ideal location for mid-sized industries looking to join the emerging EV market in North Carolina, with 300 acres and rail access.
After Wolfspeed is established, the CAM site still has 1,400 acres of heavy-industrial zoned land available. The CAM site is a state-certified Norfolk Southern Prime rail site with convenient access to U.S. 64 and U.S. 421, the future Interstate 685. The CAM site is 30 minutes from Greensboro and 40 minutes from the I-540 Raleigh outer loop.
A key point in 2023 is that North Carolina is the third fastest-growing state in the nation. New members of the workforce arrive every day, many concentrated in the Research Triangle and Piedmont Triad regions that Chatham lies within. Chatham is also focused on cultivating a home-grown workforce. Chatham County Schools are among the strongest in the state and work closely with the local industry to create a workforce pipeline. Students have access to quality career and technical education as well as the offer of free community college at Central Carolina Community College (CCCC).
The college works with industry employers to offer the classes and training needed to ready students for a job while also coordinating with employers to facilitate apprenticeships and hiring opportunities with students. Soon, the Moore Center, a new regional training facility, will offer industrial space for company-specific employees. VinFast has already reserved space in the Moore Center to train employees on their production line, along with other growing industries in the region.
Keeping pace with industrial growth, Chatham Park is the premier residential and commercial development happening on the east coast. Over 20,000 residential units are planned along with 22 million square feet of commercial space. Located in Pittsboro, the development will offer a range of housing from condos to single-family and age restricted, as well as shopping, dining, UNC Health Care, and flex-industrial space.
The new home of VinFast and Wolfspeed, Chatham County has become the place to be for companies that wish to move quickly. With readily available land, housing, and workforce, Chatham is ready to build on its momentum in 2023. For more information, visit www.chathamedc.org.
High school students arrive at the Better Skills, Better Jobs Fair in Greenville to meet with potential employers. (Photo: Greenville ENC Alliance)
Creating Connections In Greenville, NC
Greenville has found a way to bring job seekers, employers, and educational institutions together. For the past two years, Greenville has been the host of The Better Skills, Better Jobs Career Fair supported by funding from the John M. Belk Endowment. This is the largest job fair and the first of its kind in eastern North Carolina. It is designed to address workforce development needs that have been highlighted by the pandemic in Pitt County and surrounding communities.
The event is a unique approach to bringing together the region’s top employers with education resources from Pitt Community College, East Carolina University, Pitt County Public Schools, and area apprenticeship programs. The event creates connection opportunities for career seekers, employers, and educational resources. In one location, a job seeker has access to over 100 employers with job openings, representatives from the Pitt Community College workforce development programs, the state’s regional workforce development team, as well as faculty from East Carolina University.
The Better Skills, Better Jobs Fair features an exclusive high school session in the morning where high school juniors and seniors have the chance to discover future careers and educational paths. Employers take this opportunity to speak to students about positions within their company that align with their interests and what training would be needed for employment. An afternoon session is open to all career seekers who are looking for career advancement and the additional skills necessary to take advantage of current opportunities.
The event concept was first introduced by The Greenville ENC Alliance in 2021. Potential employees have a one-stop location to connect with employers and get on a path to a better job and rewarding career. This past year, 100 employers and education resource representatives were on hand, and over 750 career seekers attended the event. The fair not only helps build awareness of careers and educational opportunities in the community but also fosters engagement between employers and individuals who can fill their needs for a skilled workforce. It is held each fall at the Greenville North Carolina Convention Center and is made possible through resources and funding from Pitt Community College, the John M. Belk Endowment, East Carolina University, Pitt County Public Schools, NCWorks Career Center, Greenville ENC Alliance, and Pitt County Economic Development. For more information, visit www.encalliance.com.
‘Remarkable Trajectory’ For The Charlotte Region
Charlotte is now the 15th most populous city in the U.S., and the city’s population increase in the past decade has propelled it past Seattle, San Francisco, Denver, and Indianapolis. As a result, Charlotte is the nation’s fifth fastest-growing city, and the Charlotte Region—one of North Carolina’s most important economic centers—is the nation’s most vibrant, innovative, and healthy economy.
The Charlotte Region has seen $5.5 billion in capital investments and nearly 14,000 jobs announced since 2020, and the momentum is expected to continue for this 15-county, bistate region. More than 80 people move to the Charlotte Region—home to 3.1 million people—every day. They come for jobs in a healthy and growing economy with thriving healthcare, finance, and professional services sectors. Businesses come to start and grow in a region with an educated, talented, and innovative workforce, regularly ranked in the top three places to start a business. They come for a lower cost of living and affordable real estate in neighborhoods fit for any lifestyle—from vibrant urban centers to suburban cul-de-sacs to quaint small towns and rural areas. For more information, visit charlotteregion.com.