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Special Advertising SectionH o r r y C o u n t y
HORRY COUNTYMyrtle Beach faces a challenge unique
in South Carolina, says Brad Lofton, presi-dent and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation. Its extremely successful in tourism to the tune of 14 million visitors yearly but theres an urgent need to expand the economy beyond conventions and vacations.
Were working on diversifying the econo-my with non-tourism jobs, Lofton said. We have high unemployment here in the county, and weve got to create some good-paying jobs.
Its a revolution in the area, but thats noth-ing new for Myrtle Beach. Over the course of its history, a common theme prevails: growth and rebirth. Since the early 1900s, the Myrtle Beach area has grown, evolved and prospered, and the Grand Strand has become a world-famous tourist destination and home to thou-sands of new residents each year.
For businesses, Myrtle Beach is the ulti-mate work/life community in the Southeast. It offers a strategic location, proud workforce, superior education, quality health care and commitment to a bright future. These are just a few reasons, economic development leaders say, why an increasing number of businesses are choosing to call this community home.
Were expecting a record year this year, Lofton said, discussing the outlook for eco-nomic development. Our efforts are getting attention around the Southeast.
The corporation has about 25 active proj-ects going, he said.
Myrtle Beach and surrounding communi-ties are located in Horry County. The county is strategically located in the northeastern corner of the Palmetto State between the port cities of Charleston and Wilmington, N.C., and halfway between New York and Miami.
In December, AvCraft Technical Services,
an aircraft maintenance, repair and modifica-tion provider, announced plans to expand its operations in Horry County. The $1 million investment is expected to generate 150 new jobs.
Location was a major factor in choosing to expand operations here. Myrtle Beach gives us a centralized location to most efficiently reach our customer base, Mike Hill, president of AvCraft, said at the time. Horry County officials and the Myrtle Beach Regional EDC made expanding here a very easy process.
The Myrtle Beach MSA has consistently been ranked as one of the fastest-growing areas in the country, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics. And it is located in one of the 10 states with the lowest cost of labor in Business Facilities 2009 Rank-ings report.
Integra Fabrics moved its operations to Loris from Anderson in 1992. The appeal of
Expanding the economy beyond tourism success
The Grand Strands 60 miles of sandy beaches are ranked Worlds Best Beach by Yahoo! Travel.
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H o r r y C o u n t ySpecial Advertising Section
the beach was strong, said Debbie McArthur, company president. When Integra sought to expand six years ago, the company was able to move into a 70,000-square-foot building on 17 acres, with incentives from Loris and the state.
The company, which does heat-transfer printing of fabrics on contract for the hospi-tality and health care industries, came here to stay and grow, McArthur said. Company officials are looking to add a division to sew their products, which will require training.
McArthur speaks highly of nearby Coastal Carolina University, whose business school has provided three of the companys top employees.
The area boasts a quality workforce, tax and financing incentives, prime building sites and a low cost for doing business. South Caro-lina helps fund the training needs of South Carolina businesses through major workforce training options.
As an integral part of the S.C. Techni-cal College System, the readySC program provides qualifying companies with a pre-trained and productive workforce from the first day of operations. This state-funded pro-gram offers recruitment, assessment, training
development, management and implementa-tion services to companies who are creating new jobs with competitive wages and benefits. Each training program is customized to meet company standards. Almost without excep-tion, readySC is provided at little or no cost to the company.
South Carolina supports existing compa-nies by offsetting a portion of the cost asso-
ciated with the retraining of existing work-ers. The retraining must be approved and coordinated by Horry-Georgetown Technical College.
Education The Horry County School District boasts
48 schools, including two academies with concentrations in technology, science and
Myrtle Beach, SCA world recognized location with strategic business advantages
With the fastest growing labor force in the U.S., the Horry County business environment is highly conducive to nding, recruiting,
and retaining the type of employees your business needs to succeed.
MYRTLE BEACH REGIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTP.O. Box 261966 | Conway, SC 29528-6066 | 843-347-4604
Coastal Carolina University is ranked by Forbes magazine as one of Americas 100 Best College Buys for delivering outstanding value for the cost of education.
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H o r r y C o u n t y Special Advertising Section
arts, and an Early College High School. There are also eight private school options and three charter schools with specialized concentra-tions.
More than $500 million has been invested in Horry County schools over the past decade. Thats an investment for the areas future, with nearly 20 schools built and valuable technology and facility upgrades made during
that time. Horry County Schools have proudly pro-
duced National Merit Scholarship semifinal-ists who go on to win national scholarships. The robotics team, made up of high school students from the Academy for Technology and Academics, also competes nationally in projects with NASA.
Seven schools have been named National Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence by the U.S. Department of Education. The districts SAT scores are 33 points above the state average.
Additionally, 94% of high school students who sought International Baccalaureate diplo-mas received them. Horry County Schools have the highest-performing IB program in the state. Palmetto Achievement Challenge Test scores outpace the state at every level and Horry County is the first district in South Carolina to earn district-wide accreditation.
Fueled by excellence in the K-12 education system, Horry County has three institutes of higher learning. It is also within a half days drive to some of the most prestigious univer-sities in the country, such as Duke University, Georgia Tech, Medical University of South Carolina, Clemson University and University of South Carolina.
Continuing education Coastal Carolina University and Horry-
Georgetown Technical College offer a mul-titude of opportunities for retraining and/or educational advancement with degrees and certification programs in more than 60 fields of study.
Webster University provides workers with an alternative educational opportunity to complete their graduate degrees.
The Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics opened a Myrtle Beach campus in 2011. It is located at the International Technology and Aerospace Park, near Myrtle Beach Interna-tional Airport. PIAs airport location provides an ideal atmosphere for aviation training as well as aircraft accessibility to the schools facilities. The first class began in January with an enrollment of 33 students for the Aviation Maintenance Technician program.
In nearby Florence, the Southeastern Insti-tute of Manufacturing and Technology pro-vides technical service and a training facility for industry in the Southeast. Its the first facil-ity of its kind in the United States and features an Advanced Manufacturing Center, a Virtual Reality Center and a National Robotics Cen-ter. SIMT offers open enrollment, onsite and
Higher educationCOASTAL CAROLINA UNIVERSITY2011 fall enrollment .............................. 8,772 Full-time faculty members ....................... 353 Student-to-faculty FTe Ratio ................... 18:1 Average range SAT score for first-time freshmen .........................920-1080 54 major fields of study Seven masters degree programs More than $115 million in major
construction currently under way
HORRY-GEORGETOWN TECHNICAL COLLEGEApproximate enrollment ........................ 7,314 Full-time faculty members ....................... 134 Part-time faculty members .... more than 134 Student-to-faculty ratio ........................... 18:1
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customized training as well as manufacturing startup assistance and consulting services.
Utilities As with most businesses, utility costs are
a major factor in location decisions. Horry County has abundant supplies of electric, gas and water at competitive rates that are 24% below the national average. Fiber optic tele-communications are installed throughout the county, served by major phone and Internet providers including Horry Telephone Coop-erative and Verizon.
Myrtle Beach was an amazingly good fit for us. Our employees were the best surprise, and we have had an incr