The Brunswick & Glynn County Development Authority met for two days in January to discuss its vision for the future, and authority members held a workshop Tuesday to discuss five objectives and key results expected from those discussions held earlier this year.
One goal is to have a globally competitive real estate portfolio with every industrial site ready for development. Another goal is to create 50 acres of pad-ready sites, said Ryan Moore, the authority’s president and CEO.
The authority wants to have a premier brand that is recognized and trusted. Moore suggested a rebranding effort with stories and speaking engagements to spread the message of what’s available in the Golden Isles. An added emphasis to the foreign trade zone was also suggested at the meeting.
A skilled workforce that is responsive to industry needs and fosters a culture of lifelong learning and skill development can be accomplished with specific education and training programs. Moore said there is currently a “mismatch” of employers seeking job applicants and students graduating from local colleges.
Board members discussed the need for more residential space downtown and for affordable housing. But they agreed the authority is not the agency that should lead that effort.
The authority plans to be proactive in identifying growth opportunities and become the go-to organization for industry solutions. The goal is to break into the Forbes Top 100 best small places for business careers, Moore said.
The final goal is to be the destination for targeted industry locations, he said.
“We feel jobs will come with investment,” he said.
After the hour-long workshop, the authority held its monthly meeting. Chairman Wayne Johnson and board member Bill Austin were appointed to the Glynn County Airport Commission Audit Committee.
Board members voted unanimously to pass a resolution in support of a $2.7 million revenue bond for Frederica Academy. The resolution will enable the project to be tax exempt, saving the school money in interest paid.
Moore said the authority is currently working on 10 active projects.
“Things are heating up a bit,” he said.
Officials from College of Coastal Georgia, Coastal Pines Technical College and Golden Isles College and Career Academy made presentations about their workforce development efforts.
Johnny Evans, provost at College of Coastal Georgia, said the school is continuing to grow. Enrollment is expected to increase 2.5 percent during the fall semester.
“The college is positioned well to change students’ lives,” he said.
The college has increased the size of the library, and more buildings and renovations are planned.
“We look forward to the changes,” he said.
Skip Mounts, dean of the college’s business school, said a growing number of business degrees are now offered. Seven years ago, the college offered bachelor’s degrees in business administration and health informatics, as well as an applied associates degree in hospitality management.
Now the college has added bachelors degrees in public management, criminal justice, workforce management and leadership, as well as an applied associates degree in culinary arts.
Two other programs — a bachelors accounting program and an online business administration program for working adults — have been proposed, Mounts said.
Pete Snell, vice president of economic development for Coastal Pines Technical College, said his school is also experiencing steady growth, especially in dual enrollment, which has more than doubled the past four years.
Rick Townsend, CEO of the career academy, said the school continues to focus on soft skills.
A five-year sublease was approved for the Hertz office at the Brunswick- Golden Isles Airport.