Initiative for the Gainesville/Hall County Area Background In 1994, the Gainesville/Hall County community came together to create, fund and implement the HALLTogether program, bringing a renewed commitment to the economic well-being of all of the Gainesville/Hall County area. That commitment was reinforced in 2000 with the advent of the HALLmark Initiative. As a result of these programs, our expectations have been elevated to higher and higher levels. To reach those new expectations, it is now time to take stock and renew our collective commitment to the community.
Much has been accomplished such as the renovation and expansion of the Chamber office building. With the modern facility paid for and professional staff in place, we now have a more functional business center and hub for community development. There have also been major improvements in local relationships and a renewed spirit of cooperation among governmental entities, business leaders, educational institutions, and community leaders. And, we have attracted new jobs and investments into the community.
Many things have changed in the past five years prompting us to reassess where we are today and determine where we want to be in the next five to ten years. There has been a tremendous impact on our area by the consolidation of many industries, primarily in manufacturing and also in some financial arenas. While the movement to offshore production has impacted our community, so has the importation of immigrant labor. These factors continue to affect our need to grow, expand and attract new industries that are more relevant to the knowledge-based economy of today and tomorrow. The changing demographics of our county have also put additional strains on the social infrastructure, especially that of education and healthcare.
So today we are launching the new commitment, The HALLmark Vision – “A Clear Path to the Future.” The focus of this initiative is to build on the solid foundation in place due to the foresight of Hall’s leadership over 10 years ago when the HALLmark Initiative was born. This new effort will lead the way in retaining the good jobs we currently have, while attracting more new investment and even better jobs in the technology and bio-tech sectors. We will also focus on the development of start-up based on new technology applications. In order to accomplish these goals, it is imperative that the social and workforce issues also be addressed through our new vision for the future.
The Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce is embarking on an aggressive and bold new four-year action plan for the Hall County area. New ideas for our community are being developed and will be finalized through the upcoming HALLmark Visioning process.
This initiative will be the vehicle to bring together representatives from government, education, business and volunteers to identify and capitalize on the plentiful resources of the Gainesville/Hall County area. With the infusion of new ideas, energy and resources, this program will ensure the economic viability of our region for decades to come.
Mission and Purpose
The Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce is an organization supported by the private sector and public entities that are dedicated to improving the community’s prosperity and the overall quality of life for all in the area. In order for us to succeed, we must be focused on the future by developing our collective vision and by working together diligently to realize that vision.
Gainesville/Hall County is a progressive community of individuals and families who are active in improving the quality of life for those living in this dynamic region of Georgia. In order to maintain our posture and to take advantage of our opportunities, we will muster the required resources necessary to meet our needs for today and, even more importantly, our needs for tomorrow. As always, the bottom line and final evaluation of our efforts will be answered when we see if the quality of life of all Gainesville/Hall County citizens has been dramatically improved.
The HALLmark Vision – “A Clear Path to the Future” action plan is to:
Develop an Aggressive Retail and Small Business Recruitment/Support Plan
Design and Implement Relevant Education / Workforce Initiatives
Enhance Cooperation between Governmental Entities and Community Leaders
FOUR-YEAR STRATEGIC ACTION PLAN
Embark on The Hallmark’s Visioning Process
A CLEAR PATH TO THE FUTURE----will initiate a comprehensive, year-long community wide visioning program to be inclusive of all segments and groups in the Gainesville/Hall County Area. This process will chart the way for the implementation of smart, sustainable growth and development by focusing on everything that affects our community.
Select qualified consultant to direct the visioning process.
Determine exactly what the collective community wants the Greater Hall Region to become.
Identify our strengths and weaknesses in all aspects of living and doing business in the county.
Clearly outline the opportunities for improvement in job creation, educational systems, physical and social infrastructure.
Identify the threats that may inhibit the orderly growth and development of the county.
Develop strategies that will detail a concrete plan of action and pathway for Gainesville/Hall County Area to achieve its Vision for the Future.
Total Four-Year Investment – $200,000
2. Economic Development and Existing Business Retention & Expansion (BRE)
Enhancement A CLEAR PATH TO THE FUTURE---will initiate efforts to recruit businesses that require a highly skilled workforce and will serve as a catalyst to increase business retention and expansion activities with companies, including, but not limited to, those that have high probability of new employment growth.
Economic Development (Recruitment)
Serve as the one-stop source for all business recruitment, referrals, special assistance and all matters relating to economic development.
Conduct a “target industry study” to identify industries that would be a good fit in our area and would have a logical reason for considering locating in the region.
Develop a pro-active marketing plan based on results of the “target industry study” and in concert with our focus on recruiting technology- based companies.
Participate in at least two (2) trade missions annually and three (3) trade shows in the US annually with state and/or regional economic development partners.
Hold quarterly “Economic Development Discussion” to eliminate any duplication and to foster a communicative, collaborative, and resource sharing spirit.
Develop a joint incentive package with governmental partners to enhance job creation and investment.
Business Retention & Expansion (BRE)
Fund a full-time position to concentrate on the BRE program.
Proactively identify and assist existing businesses and their future needs.
Obtain and utilize the Synchronist business retention software system to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats facing the Greater Hall region. (Synchronist is the leading BRE tool used today.)
Conduct, a minimum of 35, Business Retention & Expansion (BRE) personal interviews with local industry annually to determine development needs, opportunities, or challenges and capture other relevant data such as workforce, facility, capital and infrastructure needs.
Conduct BRE site visits to corporate headquarters of Hall County businesses domiciled outside of the community.
Enhance efforts to foster a more business-friendly public policy environment. (Links to item 5. - Community and Governmental Affairs)
Total Four-Year Investment - $690,000
3. Retail and Small Business Development A CLEAR PATH TO THE FUTURE---will attract and promote the development of “high-end” retail establishments and locally owned small businesses. We will provide a forum where new enterprises in the community can find resources vital to new business development.
Conduct annual workshops for small and minority owned businesses.
Target high-end retail development based on “pull factor” data for selected retail sectors.
Initiate a local coordinating network to provide entrepreneurs with a local clearinghouse of small business support services.
Create marketing materials and information that position Gainesville/Hall County as a haven for small business development.
Establish a business incubator to support the development of start up small manufacturing and/or technology-based businesses.
Fund a part time position to concentrate on small business development.
Total Four-Year Investment – $250,000
4. Education and Workforce Development A CLEAR PATH TO THE FUTURE---will build the human capital necessary for our community to fully participate in the new knowledge economy. We will provide leadership in the establishment of alliance programs and networks to insure an educated, well-trained workforce that is willing and able to compete in today’s global marketplace.
Expand partnership with Lanier Career Center for training in healthcare, technology and manufacturing.
Partner with local schools, colleges and training centers to establish new initiatives and to enhance existing programs such as QUEST (Quality Education Strategy Team), Youth Apprentice Programs, Job Shadowing, etc.
Create and lead a coalition to support a new Education SPLOST to build new schools.
Provide support to enhance and expand the partnership through the Lake Lanier Technology Alliance for the development of skill sets and talent required in technology-based industries.
Facilitate the delivery of industry specific training programs by proactively linking available resources with companies in need of these services.
Develop additional initiatives to address needs identified through the Chamber’s industry and business visitation program.
Incorporate industry and technology career opportunities into the New Youth Leadership Hall Program.
Partner with regional and state entities in the delivery of workforce initiatives to insure the availability of resources on the local level.
Develop a coalition to address the educational challenges associated with the increasing immigrant population.
Fund a position to coordinate education and workforce development programs.
Total Four-Year Investment – $380,000
5. Community Issues and Governmental Affairs A CLEAR PATH TO THE FUTURE---will promote positive interaction between local and state government and our business community. We will identify the physical and social infrastructure needs of the county and we will provide leadership to address those needs. We will create an atmosphere of Ownership and Responsibility by all citizens and governmental officials.
Create a Business and Industry Consortium as an advocate for issues requiring governmental or community support and/or action.
Develop public/private partnership to plan and identify funding sources for new physical infrastructure (sewer, water, roads, business parks, etc).
Support and market the SPLOST process for infrastructure development.
Develop a pro-active plan to lobby for the support of the Chamber’s local, state and federal legislative agendas.
Increase funding and support from local governments for Economic Development Council activities based on goals and objectives.
Participate in environmental efforts to protect and promote our natural resources to enhance and preserve our quality of life.
Encourage the creation of Council of Governments to facilitate good working relations between governmental entities and business leaders.
Expand healthcare programs to market: access to quality care, new trends, Northeast Georgia Health System facilities and programs, and Hall County physician services.
Enhance the International Program of the Chamber to include the minority and international population.
Employ a bi-lingual person to facilitate communication and development in this expanding sector of the community.
Develop plans to attract a new hotel and conference center to Hall County as a complement to existing community facilities, especially Lake Lanier.
Host annual housing and community development forums to encourage new investment and projects that will benefit citizens in the county.
Total Four-Year Investment – $330,000
PROPOSED FOUR-YEAR BUDGET SUMMARY
1. The HALLmark Vision for the Future $ 200,000
2. Economic Development - Business Attraction &Retention $ 690,000
3. Retail and Small Business Development $ 250,000
4. Education and Workforce Development $ 380,000
5. Community Issues and Governmental Affairs $ 330,000
Four-Year Pledge Total $ 1,850,000
FOUR-YEAR GOALS The following measurable goals will be attained over the course of the four-year program:
1,400 new/retained jobs
$100 million in capital construction and equipment
$70 million in additional annual payroll
Oversight and Governance The Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce and program investors will guide the four-year “The HALLmark Vision –
A Clear Path to the Future” initiative. They will remain responsible and accountable for program implementation, management, oversight and disbursement of funds. A current list of Board members follows.
Investors will receive timely communiqués, updates on program successes, briefings, program progress reports, invitations to key program events and will be recognized accordingly.
Conclusion The Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce will continue to work toward creating new jobs and economic growth by traditional methods such as attracting new industry to the area. In addition, long-term community and economic development growth will be realized as the Gainesville/Hall County Area moves toward the goal of becoming the choice location for people to live and work in Northeast Georgia.
A successfully implemented HALLmarkplan will generate benefits for those who live and work in the Gainesville/Hall County Area, including:
Higher quality jobs with an improved per capita income
Stable and growing tax base
New market opportunities for existing businesses
Protection of existing investments that have been made by businesses and homeowners
Individuals becoming more engaged in building a more prosperous community
Unparalleled quality of life
By aggressively preparing for the future, HALLmark will focus on, among other things, marketing our unique attributes and building a more fertile business climate, the Gainesville/Hall County Area will achieve its Vision for the Future.
Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors