State draws economic recovery map

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Witten, Scott. “State draws economic recovery map.” Robesonian 30 January 2002.


Jim Fain, a state Department of Commerce official, addressed over 200 people during a Robeson County Municipal Association meeting and unveiled a 44-page report called “Robeson County 21st Century Initiative.” Based on interviews with 75 business and civic leaders, the report identifies the county's strengths and weaknesses and will help launch a plan aimed at solving the economic problems now being faced.Robeson is one of ten counties chosen for this Department of Commerce program. Although there is no state funding for the program, a committee will be formed to enact changes;, and Commerce Department staff will meet with the committee regularly.Some of the county's weaknesses, as outlined in the report, include manufacturing job losses (almost 8,000 jobs since 1995; the December unemployment rate was almost twice the state average); an unskilled workforce (most people, although hard working and loyal, have experience only in low-skilled manufacturing jobs); weak government leadership (some leaders perceive that little communication occurs between county and municipal officials); quality of the public schools (some people perceive that children are not receiving an adequate education; the dropout rate is high, and average SAT scores are low); poor image (some people perceive that the county has a negative image due to racial tensions in the past and media attention to those tensions); and quality of life (some people assert that the county has insufficient entertainment, cultural, and recreational resources).The county's strengths include an excellent county water system, Interstate 95, closeness to Wilmington, and convenient rail access.

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Unemployment | Economic development
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