Charleston: A Model Needed for Intentional Job Building

Jobs! A general demand that lacks the specifics of wages. $15 an hour is the wage target. It’s having an effect. North Charleston, SC adopted it for its govt employees, unheard in this right-to-work state that prides itself on low wages, day labor, undocumented workers, and being anti-union. The job target depends on a series of steps less direct.

The SC lowcountry added Boeing to its employers. Volvo is coming soon; Google has a data center in Goose Creek; Daniel Island’s Blackbaud is the nation’s leading non-profit software firm; The state’s Medical University leads among govt employers; A Taco Bell and Pizza Hut operating group is the 3rd largest private employer with more workers than Walmart.

Yet, except for land use and zoning, the region has no master development plan, no targets for ancillary businesses, no year by year discussions for secure job and wage growth or for discovering natural niches for future growth! (The region does have a great marketing plan!)

Yet regions around the world show how the success of coordinated models results in tremendous job growth (China’s 7-cities, Pearl River district, NC’s Research Triangle, Africa’s Rwanda, India’s Guangdong state (manufacturing, in Gujarat), Poland’s special economic zones, et al, (awaiting: Haiti, undeveloped, willing work force, low shipping costs)). Charleston can build through coordination rather competition; models work!

Rails and REITs (healthcare/last mile warehouses/data centers) are two favorites; for Charleston I suggest partner with Haiti. And corner the globe on coatings (a mix of high tech/manufacturing/expanding markets–all things have paint!). An old slogan points forward: from airplanes and cars, go , cover the world!

Remembrance of Booms Past


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