Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Legacy Update: Economic Development

Piedmont Triad Research Park
The economy of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County has changed dramatically over the last two decades. In many ways, Winston-Salem’s strong manufacturing-based economy has already shifted to a knowledge and service-based economy as new customers, off-shore labor pools, and advanced technologies have challenged established business principles and practices at the local level. This shift is crucial since Forsyth County lost 14,733 manufacturing jobs between 1990 and 2008, a 39% drop.

For economic growth and job creation to occur and be sustained in today’s environment, communities need excellence in four important areas: companies engaged in progressive research, advanced production and business/professional services; a trained workforce with varied human skills and crafts; robust business facilities, sites and infrastructure; and a vibrant quality of life.

The relative strength or weakness in these factors affects a community’s ability to grow organizations, companies and jobs to compete with other areas. At the heart of all of these factors is a culture of active learning, the attainment of knowledge and an atmosphere encouraging innovation.

Quality of life continues to be a catalyst for economic development. Although available attracting new businesses, excellent educational opportunities, safe andattractive neighborhoods, thriving downtowns, the arts, parks and greenways, and a clean, natural environment have become part of the competitive formula for a community’s economic success.

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