Alliance For Growth

FOCUS AREAS

NEW & EXPANDED RECRUITING - The Gaston County Charlotte Airport Economic Positioning Strategy

Gaston County has many strategic assets, including close proximity to Charlotte Douglas International Airport, the region’s primary economic engine. This provides unique economic development opportunities. 

To capitalize on this, we and our partners have worked with an internationally-recognized team of experts to develop a comprehensive strategy to attract companies that need excellent access and short travel times to the CLT Airport. Gaston County is the perfect place for these new and expanding businesses to land.

Just finalized and adopted, the Gaston County Charlotte Airport Economic Positioning Strategy will help shape Gaston County's future.

 

The Full Report can be found & downloaded here. 

The Strategy Summary can be found & downloaded here. 

The Executive Summary can be found & downloaded here.

TRANSPORTATION & ACCESS 

With economic growth comes increased traffic, and Gaston County has remained proactive in addressing these challenges.

I-85 runs directly through Gaston County and major improvements to our portion of that major east coast corridor are starting with reconstruction of the I-85 and Hwy 321 intersection. Local governments are also planning improved gateways to facilitate multimodal travel to the region's commercial and entertainment districts and tourist attractions. 

The Catawba Crossings project is Gaston County's next step. It will directly link Gaston County to Charlotte's massive River District development, the southern approaches to Charlotte Douglas International Airport and its Intermodal Center, and Charlotte’s I-485. Spanning two rivers, this road will improve connectivity, reduce congestion and travel times, and open a new economic corridor.

 
THE GASTON OUTSIDE CAMPAIGN

A mainstay of the AFG Plan, the Gaston Outside (GO) Image Campaign is designed to celebrate Gaston County's many strengths.  The campaign was initially focused on increasing awareness within Gaston County of all that the County has to offer and now in its fourth year the campaign has expanded to project that positive message across the region and beyond.

GO Month—a month-long celebration every October features themed weeks to highlight the County's Cultural, Recreational, Educational, Culinary, and Economic strengths—is becoming a Gaston County tradition. 

Visit the Gaston Outside website here

WORKFORCE PREPAREDNESS

The AFG Plan makes it clear that having a highly-trained and educated workforce is essential to economic growth. Responding to this imperative, we work with leaders across Gaston County who have implemented unique and highly-effective workforce programs which reflect many of the best practices across the country. 

For instance, our partners bring students, faculty, and parents into workplaces across the County to provide a true picture of today’s advanced manufacturing environment and the career opportunities that exist. Working with Gaston College and Gaston County Schools, our business leaders are engaged with educators to ensure that Career and Technical Education offerings effectively target existing and future industry needs.

 

Gaston College has been working to develop and implement innovative apprenticeship programs and Gaston County is one of the first Work Ready Communities in North Carolina. A new $8 million state-of-the-art Center for Advanced Manufacturing facility has opened at Gaston College to prepare students to work in fields ranging from mechatronics to nuclear and alternative energy.

ENTREPRENEURIAL & SMALL BUSINESS GROWTH

Of all the ways to accelerate job growth in this changing economy, cultivating a diverse and supportive ecosystem for entrepreneurs and innovators may hold the most long-term promise. Gaston County has a storied history as a manufacturing powerhouse and that maker and risk-taker spirit is as strong as ever here. 

TechWorks of Gaston County is the outcome of community-wide collaboration in this AFG focus area. A tech talent developer hub, it is scheduled to open its doors in early 2019 to become a major regional player in meeting the demand for digital era jobs.

 

Not waiting for the technology center to be ready, TechWorks has formed alliances with Tech Talent South, UNC Charlotte, and Gaston College to foster a unique and relevant coding continuum.

TechWorks has also collaborated with a new Internet Service Provider, Open Broadband, to expand high-speed internet availability into Belmont and across Gaston County.

SITES, BUILDINGS, AND INFRASTRUCTURE

The AFG highlights the importance of infrastructure expansion and maintaining an inventory of speculative buildings and development-ready sites and our community is making real progress in all of those areas. 

The recently finished 50,000 sq. ft. spec building located in Gastonia Technology Part is a major draw for companies seeking to expand or locate in the greater Charlotte region. 

The County has made strategic investments to help bring more building and industrial sites to the point where they are rapidly developable. Projects are also underway in a couple of our municipalities to consolidate wastewater facilities, improving service and protecting the environment.

GROWTH REGULATORY PROCESS

The AFG Plan recommended streamlining the regulatory approval and permitting process, adopting improvements to the Uniform Development Ordinances and promoting a business-friendly attitude among government staff. 

While a number of collaborative efforts have yielded strong results, continuous focus is necessary to ensure that we generate jobs and increase capital investment. We are pleased to say that Gaston County is open for business.

The Alliance For Growth

For over a period of six months in 2014, more than 100 community leaders came together to prepare the Alliance for Growth: Poised to Prosper strategic action plan.  The 7 Focus Areas in that strategic plan guide our actions to create good jobs and attract capital investment to the region.