Forsyth County’s Chamber of Commerce is internet hosting a digital enterprise improvement summit with neighborhood leaders

After the initial “growth spurt”, she said the county is primarily focused on building houses and growing residential buildings, creating an imbalance in commercial and residential property tax revenues. Semanson said the current division of the county is 70% residential and 30% commercial, with the county expected to move closer to 40% commercial.

Since implementing the Economic Development Plan, which began last year, Semanson has found that the appraised value of corporate-owned property in the county has increased 19%. Another 21 new projects were announced in 2020, with most projects in sectors such as advanced manufacturing, technology and e-commerce.

Kristin Morrissey, vice chair of the Forsyth County Board of Education, also provided an overview of how the school district has worked on the economic development plan this year, and shared the efforts of Workforce Forsyth, a workforce development pipeline.

Morrissey said an updated Workforce Forsyth plan will now guide career technology programming in the school district through 2021 and encourage new career paths that “fill and fill gaps in business and industry in the county.”

The school system has already begun implementing several new career paths in its high schools, including aerospace, mechatronics, energy systems, cybersecurity, financial technology, veterinary science, and architectural design and design for the next school year at East Forsyth High School.

Morrissey also highlighted how well the county has weathered the pandemic economically to date, noting that the county’s sales tax revenues only decreased about 3% before picking up again by May this year. She attributed this to many in the county who went out of their way to support businesses in her community.

“Business-community collaboration is another example of how economic development helps build a strong local economy that benefits both our county and our school system,” said Morrissey.

Dr. Ray Perren, president of Lanier Tech, stated that the college is also working to send skilled workers back into the community by providing students with more than 150 programs in more than 50 areas such as industry, healthcare, public safety, business, government and industry represents information technology.

They also develop programs on the Forsyth County campus based on the needs of the community in the workforce. The school recently partnered with Northside Hospital and other regional health care providers to offer an associate degree nursing program starting this fall. This program is designed to help meet the “critical need” for nurses in Forsyth County and the surrounding communities.

“At Lanier Technical College, we believe that business development and people development go hand in hand,” said McDonald. “You can’t have one without the other.”

Small business owners from across the county also spoke about the Chamber of Commerce during the summit, and Forward Forsyth has been helping them and the community this year.

Chamber of Commerce President James McCoy closed the summit thanking the business owners and community members who virtually attended and the event sponsors. Lanier Technical College was the main sponsor of the event.

“It’s all about the business owners and residents of this community and making sure we care about the long-term economic future of our community,” said McCoy. “It is our greatest chance to make sure we all enjoy prosperity for the sake of our children and our grandchildren.”

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