The Charleston Regional Competitiveness Center Recognized for Excellence in Economic Development Research

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Award-winning website offers comprehensive data on Charleston region.

Economic development professionals from across the U.S. assembled today at the Council for Community and Economic Research, (C2ER)’s annual conference in Nashville, TN to recognize excellence in economic development research work done by their peers.

The Charleston Regional Competitiveness Center was honored for “Outstanding Achievement and Excellence in Data Collection/ Dissemination Efforts.”

This free online data resource is available through the collaboration of four local organizations: the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments (BCDCOG), the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, the Charleston Regional Development Alliance, and the Trident Workforce Investment Board. The portal is designed to provide up-to-date economic and workforce information on the Charleston region, which consists of Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties in South Carolina.

The C2ER annual awards program recognizes the contribution of research activities to the success of local, regional, or state/provincial economic development initiatives. The purpose of the award is to increase the quality of economic development research by identifying meritorious projects and promoting the diffusion of creative ideas for research activities.

Projects were submitted to C2ER for evaluation in the following categories of research activity:

  •     Projects that support business development activities
  •     Data collection/dissemination efforts, including web-based systems
  •     Policy Analysis
  •     Project impact/program evaluation or assessment
  •     Projects that support collaborative community/regional initiatives

The projects were judged on contributions to the economic development research field, innovation in approach, implementation or collaborative efforts, responsiveness to customer needs, and benefits resulting from project implementation.

The Regional Competitiveness Center provides rich information sourced from official government data on the Charleston metro area, providing users with the significant leading indicators, research and data trends needed to make both business and policy decisions. The website serves site selectors, businesses, job seekers and other community members that would like to identify opportunities in the local marketplace.

For example, students and job seekers can review occupational data to discover what occupations are available and growing in the region. Local businesses and employers can access data about fastest-growing industries, local demographics, wage information and available workforce by occupation. Policy analysts can use demographic and economic data to write more compelling reports. Site selectors find vast amounts of data that relate to their site selection research.

Users can compile data within six main categories: Industry, Wages and Income, Workforce, Population Demographics, Social and Other. Industry, for example, contains data on employment by industry and county, industry clusters, high-growth industries, and gross regional product, among others. The Other category covers patents, imports/exports and agricultural production. All of the research is accessible to the public free of charge and is presented in an easy-to-use interface that allows users to customize the data into a dashboard style display format.

The creation of the Charleston Regional Competitiveness Center was a key recommendation within the Opportunity Next regional strategic plan, which launched in April 2011. Opportunity Next identifies key priorities in which the Charleston region must invest to enable the community to progress despite industry fluctuations and build a globally competitive economy for the Charleston region. It calls for the region to leverage its limited resources by aligning its community development, workforce development, and economic development initiatives. The Charleston Regional Competitiveness Center is an example of ongoing alignment efforts, and it will support global business development, industry cluster growth and inform regional competitiveness planning.

About The Council for Community and Economic Research
C2ER is a membership organization of economic development researchers, representing professionals working for chambers of commerce, economic development organizations, local government, utilities, academic institutions, and regional planning councils. Visit http://www.c2er.org/.

For more information on the Charleston Regional Competitiveness Center website, please visit charlestonregionaldata.com.

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