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Economic Development Commission seeks 2,500 new jobs by end of 2024

SALISBURY — The Rowan County Economic Development Commission has launched a campaign called Forward Rowan that aims to further spur economic growth.

Forward Rowan, a five-year campaign, seeks to bring 2,500 jobs to Rowan County with average wages exceeding $33,000 and $350 million in capital investment by the end of 2024. By achieving that goal, the EDC expects Rowan County to see consumer spending increase by $82.7 million.

In order to implement Forward Rowan, the EDC has established a public-private partnership funding model. Before Forward Rowan, 99% of the EDC’s funding came from the public sector. With a public-private partnership, a third of the organization’s funding will now come from private sources and two-thirds will come from local governments.

“We feel like the economic development potential of Rowan County is pretty great right now,” said EDC President and CEO Rod Crider. “We see a lot of activity coming our way. We see increased activity. We have some momentum, and we want to seize on that momentum and try to build an even stronger effort to move Rowan County forward by engaging the private sector.”

The EDC has a goal of raising $1 million from private sources to support Forward Rowan. So far, the campaign is at 65% of that goal and has raised $647,500 during its “quiet phase.” The plan will rely on $4.25 million from the public sector.

“Investing in our EDC is the smart thing to do, especially during an economic downturn,” Steve Fisher, the CEO of F&M Bank and co-chair of the Forward Rowan Campaign, said in a news release. “Funding our EDC more robustly will give Rowan County a competitive edge to bring jobs and investment to Rowan County. We need that right now more than ever.”

Crider, who joined the EDC in 2017, said that switching the organization’s funding model has been in the works for several years. The EDC’s new private-public model makes Rowan County stand out among other counties in the area.

“This is somewhat unique for the Charlotte region,” Crider said. “When we did our research we found that there weren’t a lot of other communities in this region that were operating this way.”

So far, sponsors for the campaign include Food Lion, F&M Bank, Innospec, Northpoint Development, Henkel, Global Contact Services, Duke Energy, Integro, the Salisbury Post and Team Automotive Group.

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