The Hinesville-Fort Stewart area was listed among the “Top 10 Shining Examples of Economic Development That’s Working” and the “Top 10 Places in the South to Hire Talented Military Veterans and Civilian Personnel,” according to Southern Business and Development, a magazine that reports on economic development and site selection in the South.
The lists were included in the publication’s annual “Ten Top 10s” edition, which currently is available.
In the “Top 10 Shining Examples of Economic Development That’s Working in the South” article, SB&D Editor and Publisher Michael C. Randle, writes that the designation is “very exclusive.” According to Garner Economics, there were 11 markets in the South that have seen wage growth in each of the past 24 months.
“What better way to judge whether or not economic development is working than tracking wage growth?” Randle wrote.
For that designation, Hinesville-Fort Stewart was listed with Winston-Salem, N.C.; Lake Charles, La.; Owensboro, Ky.; Elizabethtown, Ky.; Brownsville-Harlingen, Texas; Fayetteville, N.C.; Jefferson City, Mo.; Columbia, Mo.; and Lawton-Fort Sill, Okla.
The article attributes the area’s success to recent expansions within Liberty County companies headquartered abroad, such as French-based SNF, German-based Hugo Boss, and United Kingdom-based Firth Rixson.
The area’s strength through military ties was honored by the second listing, “Peace Breaks Out: 10 Places in the South to Hire Talented Military Veterans and Civilian Personnel,” which emphasizes the success of the county’s “Heroes for Hire” program.
More than 19,000 soldiers are stationed at Fort Stewart, and an estimated 300 soldiers each month leave the service with work ethics, computer literacy and specialized mechanical and technical skills — traits considered vital for employers. There also are 10,000-plus spouses living in the Liberty County area, and 95 percent of them having high-school degrees and one-third possessing some type of post-secondary education.
The designations are a point of pride for the Liberty County Development Authority, according to LCDA CEO Ronald E. Tolley.
“We are honored our community has been recognized by SB&D,” Tolley said. “Being named a model for success in economic development and an area among the best to hire veterans and civilians really go hand-in-hand. In Liberty County, we are fortunate to have local leadership committed to creating jobs, and that has been key to both recruiting new companies to the area and helping our existing industries expand. In addition, our ‘Heroes for Hire’ and the military spouses in the area make Liberty County an attractive place for companies to do business.”