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NCEast Alliance Refines Goals, Continues Toward Regional Prosperity

A transition from public to private funding offers new opportunities for regional promotion and collaboration between EDOs and business leaders.

By John Fuller on August 8, 2014

NCEast Alliance recently made the transition from a publicly funded to a public-private nonprofit economic development agency, but its mission of promoting business growth in Eastern North Carolina remains the same. Looking ahead, the organization plans to focus on three areas: marketing/branding and lead generation; education and workforce development; and advocacy.

John Chaffee, president and CEO of NCEast Alliance, says the organization’s marketing efforts will focus on rebranding Eastern North Carolina as an attractive location to relocate or expand a business, debunking the myth that the region’s talent pool does not have the skills or training to support companies in industries such as advanced manufacturing.

“The number-one concern for relocating companies is ‘Am I going to be able to get the talent I need to build my business and make my company a success?’” Chaffee says. “For companies that visit and really evaluate us, they find a region that is more than able to meet those workforce needs.”

The organization also plans to strengthen its relationship with local schools, universities and community colleges. Chaffee points to collaboration with workforce development boards and community colleges in ASPIRE (Assessing Skills for Performance in a Rebounding Economy) and the STEM East initiative now focused on middle schools across six counties as examples.

Chaffee says the third focus area – advocacy – aims to help local government agencies and organizations become more effective advocates for their economic assets, such as military installations.

“As a result of engaging business and community leaders from across the region to discuss regional assets, vision and needs, the Alliance has gained great insight as to what makes Eastern North Carolina an attractive place to be: diversity of people and places, innovation – not only in the labs of our colleges and universities but also in the minds of our factory and office workers – international logistics and quality of life,” Chaffee says.

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