North Carolina Economic Development Guide


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40 N o r t h C a r o l i N a E C o N o m i C D E v E l o p m E N t G u i D E affordable child-care options for workers. Employers post open positions through NCWorks and, if necessary, receive assistance in writing job descriptions and community- specific salary data for various professions. "We've got a brand new NCWorks Career Center in Clayton about half a mile from Novo Nordisk and Grifols," Collins says. Also nearby is the Johnston County Workforce Development Center, a 30,000-square-foot training facility constructed by local leaders on property donated by Novo Nordisk. Opened in 2005, the center hosts customized training as well as classes leading to certificates, associate and bachelor's degrees in biotech-related fields. "When they made the announcement last August, our phones started ringing off the hook with people wanting biotech training," says Joy Callahan, dean of economic and workforce development at Johnston Community College, which partners with Novo Nordisk and Grifols in funding the center and designing its programs. Qualified high-school students can take college-level courses at the center, whose mission is to build and maintain a reliable "pipeline" of local life-sciences talent. "Students can start a pathway to a biotech career as early as ninth grade," Callahan says. • • • olid local and state leadership also was pivotal in Novo Nordisk's attraction to Clayton. In addition to providing data and technical support for the company's search, North Carolina offered Novo Nordisk a package of financial incentives that included $16.8 million in performance-based grants, customized community-college training, in-kind support from the N.C. Department of Transportation and the Golden LEAF's wastewater grant. "The incentives were integral — we've always been honest about that," says Lohr. "They were key in the evaluation process." County and municipal governments showed similar seriousness. Johnston County is providing more than $94 million in refunded taxes to the company over 15 years, while the Town of Clayton is putting in an $800,000 grant. "We've agreed to share some of the risks of this investment," says Tony Braswell, chairman of Johnston County's Board of Commissioners, "and in return the county and the company will both benefit." And benefit the county it will: Construction of the plant will create 5,100 full-time and part-time jobs, according to an economic impact analysis by N.C. State University, enough to yield a $1 billion one-time impact to the local economy. After that, the 691 new permanent positions at Novo Nordisk will churn $21.5 million in annual payroll through the area's economy. Winning big in the global site-selection arena also requires a partnership ethos among local government officials, according to Clayton Mayor Jody McLeod. "We were successful in competing for this facility because of the close relationships that exist between Johnston County and its municipalities," says McLeod, a Clayton native who has been mayor since 2004. "All of us stepped up to the plate to make this happen." Chris Johnson, head of the Johnston County Office of Economic Development, agrees that collaboration is at the heart of Novo Nordisk's historic investment. "This was the result of visionary decisions local leaders here made years ago, such as the Workforce Development Center and our life-science partnerships," Johnson says. With its enviable location, industry-grade highways, Class A rail service, abundant housing options and affordable costs, it would be easy to chalk up Johnston County's success to geography and money alone. "But the real story of our growth has been people," Johnson says, "starting with our excellent workforce." Leadership, he agrees, also has been key. "At the end of the day, nobody here really cared who got credit for Project Bright Sky," he says, referring to the code name of Novo Nordisk's confidential search. "All of us were united by a common, simple objective: winning the deal." Many groups came together in developing the complicated infrastructure for Novo's 833,000-square-foot plant, including local officials, utilities and the N.C. Department of Transportation. S PROVIDED BY JOHNSTON COUNTY OFFICE OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

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