After one year, a unified vision for Spartanburg’s future economic and cultural prosperity is progressing.
Community leaders gathered Tuesday, Feb. 13, at the University of South Carolina Upstate to receive an update on the county’s five-year development strategy, aptly named OneSpartanburg.
Allen Smith, president and CEO of the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce, told the crowd that 39 investors have given $4.5 million of the plan’s $5.2 million implementation budget.
Smith said during the past year, 312 volunteers were engaged, five action teams were built, an implementation team was assembled, five staff positions were created to push the work forward, and 22 projects were started.
“We as a community continue to have a lot of work ahead of us over the next four years,” he said. “But this evening we pause to reflect on one year of progress.”
OneSpartanburg was developed in 2016 in partnership with Atlanta-based Market Street Services, a consulting firm that developed similar plans for cities like Nashville, Tenn.; Tulsa, Okla.; and Austin, Texas.
The process was fueled by feedback from nearly 3,200 people in the community, which was the highest participation Market Street Services had ever experienced. It led to the compilation of hundreds of pages of data, according to the Spartanburg Chamber.
The plan was officially launched on Jan. 24, 2017.
“What’s happening in Spartanburg right now is unprecedented,” Smith said. “I often get the question, ‘What will Spartanburg look like in three to four years from now?’ I can tell you, if you read the OneSpartanburg plan, you can see our future.”
The strategic framework of the plan is based on four key drivers: talent, image, economy, and place.
From those drivers, the plan branches out to eight objectives, then 42 strategic recommendations to 173 tactical recommendations.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Smith presented a scorecard for the plan that showed all of the recommendations and projects that have been “ignited” during the plan’s first year.
For example, employers across the county have begun to use a newly created guide to showcase Spartanburg to potential employees during the recruitment process.
Spartanburg launched its own chapter of the national entrepreneurship program 1 Million Cups.
OneSpartanburg hired Jansen Tidmore to serve as executive vice president of the new Downtown Development Project, which Smith said has 15 active economic development projects in the pipeline.
One of those projects reached fruition Tuesday, Feb. 13, as Greenville County-based civil and environmental engineering firm Hulsey McCormick & Wallace announced a new office in Spartanburg-based Johnson Development’s 101 Pine building in downtown.
Smith said year two for OneSpartanburg will be marked by “accelerated progress.”
He said OneSpartanburg’s Quality of Place Action Team will soon introduce a new app similar to DigLocal in Asheville, N.C., that highlights a broad range of local businesses and places.
On Friday, Feb. 16, the Spartanburg Chamber announced a partnership with SC Future Makers to engage the business community in workforce development and talent retention of area students.
Created by the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance in 2016, SC Future Makers is a workforce initiative with the mission to connect emerging talent to opportunities in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics).
The chamber said SC Future Makers empowers students throughout South Carolina to create personal digital portfolios and connect with colleges and companies.
Since the debut of SC Future Makers, more than 6,000 Spartanburg County high school students have created personal digital portfolios, according to the chamber.
Spartanburg area businesses will be encouraged to create public profiles that are designed to showcase employment opportunities to students, teachers, and parents.
This will provide a “centralized platform for companies of all sizes and resources to raise awareness of their business functions and company culture, highlight opportunities such as internships or apprenticeships, outline career areas that are in high demand, and provide next step information for employment applications and opportunities,” the chamber said.
There is no cost to companies to create profiles.
An informal session about profile creation will be held for Spartanburg businesses from 8:30-9:30 a.m. and noon-1 p.m. on Friday, March 16, at the chamber’s headquarters at 105 N. Pine St.