Fayette County has a lot going for it, and the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce wants the future to be even more successful. Arriving at ideas to accomplish that goal was the focus of the roll-out for the Talent Attraction and Retention Strategy meeting held May 28 at the chamber office in Fayetteville, and attended by chamber business members, local government representatives and educators.
Chamber President Colin Martin in describing the county’s next step in writing its story said community participation is needed in exploring the three areas of Housing and Development, Workforce Development Tactics, and Arts, Entertainment and Culture. Those areas are key to determining what Fayette’s future will hold.
Noting a corporate survey, Martin said employment talent today is more mobile, and employees choose where they want to live. With that current reality, companies are paying attention, Martin added.
Driving home that point, and looking strictly at the metro Atlanta area, Martin quoted a recent assessment showing that 2.3 million sq. ft. of corporate office space has moved from outside I-285 to inside the perimeter.
Martin asked those interested in participating to sign up to work on the three target areas, with the idea being to develop a talent attraction and retention strategy to be presented to the community later this year.
Much of the presentation dealt with where Fayette County is today, with Martin referencing everything from commute times, to housing and transportation costs to the unrelenting reality that Fayette’s age demographic is growing older.
That mention was in-line with research by The Citizen in 2018 showing that of Georgia’s 10 most affluent counties, Fayette significantly topped the list with the largest percentage of people aged 65 and above, while scoring the lowest for the number of residents age 18 and younger.
Another fact noted by Martin that should be a wake-up call for Fayette’s future was a national study looking at the years 2007-2014. It was during those years that Fayette County saw 31 percent of its millennials leave the county and not return. That percentage placed Fayette as leading counties nationwide in that unfortunate category. It should be noted that millennials today encompasses those aged 22-37, the age where most people are starting, or already started, having children.
Chamber Workforce and Development Director Megan Dean in her comments bolstered the reality that it is the younger people, including those still in school, that Fayette must pay attention to, both today and in the future.
Martin said the chamber would focus on recruiting its members for the three study areas and would be taking the presentation to local civic groups and clubs. Others interested in participating can contact chamber Workforce and Development Director Megan Dean at 770-461-9983, ext. 203 Megan@FayetteChamber.org.