South Carolina I-77 Alliance Breaks New Ground With GIS WebTech

Regional Approach by Economic Development Leader

When we launched our all-new Recruit 4.5 a few months back, we knew it would change the way economic development organizations utilized technology. We also knew that leading economic development groups would be quick to utilize Recruit’s advanced features to highlight their communities, and that is exactly what our customers have done.

The South Carolina I-77 Alliance, a five-county partnership stretching from the Charlotte metro area to Columbia, is a terrific example. Through a rigorous selection process, the Alliance chose GIS WebTech as its technology partner, and all five county economic development organizations plus the Alliance now run our Recruit software on their respective websites. The benefits of this coordinated regional approach are substantial: synched property data, perfectly consistent demographic and workforce data, and a common and exceptional – user experience. Plus, the Alliance and each of its member counties have the flexibility to configure their installation of Recruit to highlight their community’s particular strengths.

Chris Finn, the Alliance’s Director of Research and Marketing, says it best. “The Recruit platform will fundamentally improve the efficiency of our region to attract new industrial and corporate facilities. Not only will our counties have direct access to the same cutting-edge technology currently used by site selection professionals, but a common interface and data fidelity across all six platforms ensures a seamless user experience.

Additionally, we’re confident Recruit will allow the counties’ local economies to flourish by serving as a resource to segments of the economy that, while dependent on local data, traditionally have been challenged to source it, including: the start-up/entrepreneurial eco-system, transportation and land use planning, workforce development partners, higher education applications, and real estate development.”

Advanced Data and Analytical Tools

Figure 1: Heat Map of Millennial Population in Richland County, SC Area

With Recruit, businesses and site selectors can access the entire Esri data set, the broadest and deepest data available. As an example, a major employer considering Richland County was looking for Millennial workers and an educated workforce. Only Recruit provides the detailed demographic and workforce variables allowing businesses to find these workers immediately, through simple and attractive heat maps (Figure 1), intuitive infographics (Figure 2), as well as data and reports exportable in a variety of formats. Using Recruit, Richland County is able to showcase their young, growing, and highly educated workforce.

Millennial population is a great example of the many detailed demographic and workforce variables that are only available through GIS WebTech’s Recruit, because only Recruit is built on the Esri platform. Legacy providers simply do not have access to this data.

Similarly, GIS WebTech seamlessly incorporates Chmura’s JobsEQ workforce data directly into Recruit. The I-77 Alliance organizations can now provide the same high-quality workforce data on their public sites, through Recruit, that they also utilize privately via their JobsEQ tools.

But data is not the only advantage Recruit provides. With GIS WebTech’s Recruit, the I-77 Alliance and its counties now offer businesses and site selectors the most advanced analytical tools available. Drive times are a great example.  

Figure 2: Infographics highlighting the young, growing and educated workforce in Richland County, SC

Legacy technologies assume an average drive time, ignoring traffic entirely. But as we all know, traffic has a major impact on drive times, and any analysis ignoring it is likely to be inaccurate.

So Recruit allows users to take traffic into account by selecting the day of the week and time of day for their analysis. Further, while legacy technologies assume an outbound direction of travel from a location of interest, Recruit allows users to specify the direction of travel, in addition to the day of the week and time of day.

Figure 3: Drive Time Boundaries, Inbound on Mondays at 8:00 AM

Figure 3 shows an analysis for the inbound direction on Monday mornings at 8:00 AM for the Blythewood Industrial Site, a property featured by Richland County. Recruit returns the drive time boundaries for those exact specifications, allowing businesses to pull very accurate workforce and demographic data from within the drive time boundaries. No other technology provides this level of accuracy.

All of us at GIS WebTech are extremely excited about our partnership with the South Carolina I-77 Alliance, and the growing interest we are seeing in regional approaches around the country. In South Carolina alone we now serve 17 clients through regional partnerships like the I-77 Alliance, and we have similar partnerships in a number of other states.

If you would like to learn more about GIS WebTech’s Recruit and how it can make your economic development efforts more effective, please contact me at ron@giswebtech.com or Courtney Bridger at courtney@giswebtech.com, or simply request a demo.

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