IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Post and Courier (Editorial): Haley’s Paris payoff for S.C.
Sunday, December 4, 2011
Gov. Nikki Haley took a lot of grief for attending the Paris Air Show in June at a cost of $158,000. Details of the excursion, which included a state contingent of 28 and accommodations at a five-star hotel, were first reported by The Post and Courier.
Gov. Haley has acknowledged that she should have kept a better watch on who attended the air show, which is considered the top event for international aerospace interests. So it shouldn’t happen again.
But it’s also important to recognize that something positive came out of Gov. Haley’s trip to Paris. The governor reportedly initiated contact with GKN Aerospace at the air show, and ongoing efforts to bring the company to South Carolina have produced results. GKN has announced plans to begin operations by mid-2012 in a new plant in Orangeburg.
The company, which will manufacture components for civilian and military aircraft, will bring a $38 million investment and an estimated 250 jobs. That’s great news for job-starved Orangeburg, which suffers an unemployment rate of 14.9 percent — one of the highest in the state.
And it’s further evidence that the governor’s focus on bringing new jobs to the Palmetto State is paying off. Since she took office in January, the state’s economic development efforts have brought nearly 19,500 jobs to the state, and a total investment of more than $3.7 billion, according to Commerce Department figures cited by her office.
Those are impressive numbers, though the state’s jobless rate remains high at 10.5 percent. Clearly, the unemployment problem won’t be easily solved. That’s why it’s especially important for the governor to have made job creation her top priority for the state.
Of course, the biggest economic development coup in state history was the Boeing Dreamliner plant in North Charleston, which predated Mrs. Haley’s election. It is reasonable to assume that Boeing’s presence in South Carolina has something to do with attracting investments in aeronautics to Orangeburg.
Incentives and a capable workforce bolstered by training at Trident Technical College were major selling points for the Boeing recruitment effort.
Commerce officials used the same sort of inducements to attract GKN. The operation will get transportation improvements valued at $2 million and employee training will be assisted by the state technical college system.
Creating jobs is a tough sell, but Gov. Haley and the Commerce Department have delivered. Even more impressive is bringing jobs to rural counties with traditionally high rates of unemployment.
Keep up the good work.