Initiative Brings More Than 90,000 Jobs to Region
The Research Triangle Region has added more than 90,000 new jobs in the past two-and-a-half years -- halfway into a five-year effort to expand the region's competitive position and create new jobs.
The regional competitiveness plan, called Staying on Top: Winning the Job Wars of the Future, aims to create 100,000 jobs in the region and boost employment in all 13 counties in the region -- Moore, Chatham, Durham, Franklin, Granville, Harnett, Johnston, Lee, Orange, Person, Vance, Wake and Warren.
"Our region has experienced phenomenal economic growth since we launched the Staying on Top plan," said Charles A. Hayes, president and CEO of the Research Triangle Regional Partnership (RTRP), the public/private partnership that promotes economic development for the 13-county Research Triangle Region and coordinates the region's economic development initiatives. "We've added 90,000 new jobs in a diverse mix of industries, which has strengthened our economy. And, in the past 12 months, employment has increased in all 13 counties in the region."
The Staying on Top plan outlines a set of 30 action items in five strategic areas to ensure the region is well positioned to create new jobs and businesses in growth industries for decades to come. The strategies are:
-- Promote the growth of 10 clusters where the region has a competitive advantage: pharmaceuticals, biological agents/infectious diseases, agricultural biotechnology, pervasive computing, advanced medical care, analytical instrumentation, nanoscale technologies, informatics, vehicle parts manufacturing, and logistics and distribution.
-- Use a balanced approach of industry recruitment, new business creation and support for existing businesses to create new jobs and opportunity across the region.
-- Integrate the region's higher education resources into economic development efforts.
-- Develop new approaches to ensure rural prosperity.
-- Create agile leadership networks to help the region respond to market challenges, changes and opportunities.
The Staying on Top plan has sparked the creation of three new regional strategies, designed to promote life sciences industry expansion, global branding and competitiveness, and regional marketing, according to RTRP.
A new plan to expand military investment in the region is scheduled for development in 2007 to take advantage of opportunities created by the recent base realignment impact on nearby Fort Bragg.
Highlights for the first half of the Staying on Top plan implementation include:
-- A regional marketing plan, Triangulating Success, was developed and is being implemented by the Research Triangle Regional Partnership with member economic development organizations for the region's 13 counties.
New companies have added thousands of high-paying jobs and strengthened the region's targeted clusters.
-- A regional global strategic plan, called Focusing All Eyes On the Horizon, is under way to expand the region's international trade and investment. RTRP reopened the World Trade Center North Carolina as a business-led, business-funded program to implement the region's global strategy.
The World Trade Center recently conducted its first China mission and is planning additional business development trips this year. A two-year strategy also is under way to leverage the presence of Jim Cain, former regional business leader, now U.S. Ambassador to Denmark, to expand business relationships with targeted industries in Denmark and surrounding regions.
-- A new CEO leadership program developed by the RTRP with Leadership Triangle graduated its first class in 2006. The program is designed to engage new CEOs in regional issues and encourage new corporate leaders.
-- A regional legislative agenda has been developed by regional chambers of commerce for each of the past three years to help the region's business community speak with one voice to the N.C. General Assembly on issues that affect their ability to compete and grow.
-- A regional Web-based Busi-ness Advantage Center and financial portal launched to help existing businesses compete. The online center leverages the information and services provides by dozens of business-support organizations across the region.
-- Cluster networks launched by RTRP are encouraging interaction among companies and the university community in targeted clusters to promote innovation that will lead to new companies, businesses and jobs. More than 250 firms and organizations have participated.
-- A new regional workforce effort launched in January to coordinate the work of the six regional workforce boards that serve the region and better align their efforts with economic development.
-- Triangle Tomorrow, RTRP's quality-of-life program, is leading an effort to improve regional air quality and plans to begin examining long-term growth issues in 2007.
-- An aggressive global media placement campaign has yielded dozens of media articles from outlets worldwide that showcase the region's economy and companies.
-- A new life sciences strategy, called Innovation Emerging Intersections, is under way to positions the region for emerging life science market segments.
More information on the regional strategy and results is available on the RTRP Web site at www.researchtriangleregion.org.
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