Is Greenville Growing To Fast? Is Anderson Too Scared To Follow?

Written by Bobby Rettew, MA

If you look around, Greenville is growing, the Upstate of SC is growing…and growing fast…with tremendous economic development.

With this growth comes the concern, how to fill jobs to meet the demand. Employers can’t find enough employees with a 3.5% unemployment rate and about 10,000 job openings in Greenville County.

There are many questions:

  • How is it possible that 14.3% of county residents live in poverty?
  • What factors are keeping people from a livable wage and employers from finding qualified people to do the work?
  • And if we don’t figure this out, what impact will it have right here in Greenville County?

As more urban areas continue to see a boom in growth, residents with lower incomes are pushed into parts of the county that may be farther from jobs and transportation. As people are located further from their jobs, more congestion on highways, longer commutes…slowing the movement of freight to and from our manufacturers.

How does this growth connect with workforce development?

How about Anderson County? Will Anderson follow in Greenville’s footsteps? Anderson has it’s own issues with a smaller pool of skilled labor and a massive push from economic development to attract more manufacturers.

As I walk my twins in their stroller from my house downtown Anderson, I encounter the huge infrastructure issue first-hand. Road are horrible, sidewalks are horrible, and with the expected growth I begin to wonder how Anderson will begin to consider the issues that Greenville County is trying to face.

I know this much…I am beginning to second guess my decision to open an office for Gray Digital Group in downtown Anderson. It took me over a year to get a high speed Internet connection for my office on Sharpe Street. I almost lost my most valuable asset, my workforce…because of lack of available housing for these single Millennial workers.

How do we attract a young, entrepreneurial workforce to Anderson county when the roads suck, the housing is less than desirable, and there is little connectivity for these individuals in the local business community.

We are challenged! Greenville is growing way to fast and Anderson can’t keep up!

I helped the Greenville Partnership for Philanthropy Forum with Greenville County Council to quickly (in less that a week) produce a few videos outlining the challenges in Greenville County. I wonder if Anderson needs to join these discussions?

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