South Cobb may soon have more of a competitive EDGE if the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s economic development strategy, Cobb Competitive EDGE, meets its target goals.
Cobb Chamber COO Demming Bass spoke about the , Cobb Competitive EDGE, to a group of about 100 business owners, community members, candidates and stakeholders at the South Cobb Business Association’s April luncheon on Tuesday.
“Economic development is a team sport,” Bass said. “It’s not something that just the chamber does or something that just the county economic development office does or the cities do. It’s something that all of us do.”
Because this economic development strategy is meant to be a proactive collaborative effort, Bass explained, it would benefit all areas of Cobb, including South Cobb.
The benefits of EDGE for South Cobb include:
- Providing support and resources to ensure that Cobb schools prepare and equip students to be productive and desirable to future employers.
Employers want to know, “Will I have the workforce I need 20 years from now?” Bass said, and EDGE would help show potential employers that Cobb is driving individuals into their specific industries.
Although overall the students in Cobb County Schools perform equal to or better than students across the state on standardized tests, the strategic implication outlined in the EDGE strategy is that “strong public education systems must be flexible to the changing needs of their student demographics and responsive to the changing demands of employers and students in terms of college and career preparation.”
This means that Cobb Competitive EDGE, which will become a separate nonprofit 501(c)3 organization funded primarily by the Cobb Chamber, will work to increase graduation rates, create curriculum and partner with various businesses to run summer academies that will “give students hands-on experience and get them excited about that career,” Bass said.
- Another goal is to continue to strengthen the wholesale trade industry in South Cobb.
“(Wholesale trade) is your strength in South Cobb. This is going to be the area to really drive a lot of growth in the South Cobb area,” Bass said at the luncheon.
- EDGE would also host a “Cobb Community Identities” forum series, which will help community members share best practices and solutions for development of downtown and activity centers throughout the county.
Right now, the county and private sector are finding ways to implement the , the recommendations from the , the results from the United Way’s (also in the Six Flags area) and
In Mableton, which has recently passed , the forum series could mean that stakeholders from other communities could share ways they created a successful town center of flourishing businesses.
Bass said the series will help cultivate a “sense of place” and be a “unique way to pull them back into those downtowns.”
- Additionally, the Cobb EDGE initiative would help mobilize business leaders in South Cobb to become engaged in the numerous redevelopment initiatives listed above.
- Lastly, EDGE plans to develop a long-range vision to transform Six Flags Over Georgia in Austell into a multi-destination center for travel and tourism. Part of this plan would entail working with both the county and the South Cobb Redevelopment Authority to increase safety and attractiveness of the area for travelers and tourists.
EDGE started in June, “but it wasn’t for the chamber, it was for the community at large,” Bass said.