With good reason, the Caterpillar advanced manufacturing project in Winston-Salem has drawn much attention. The facility is under construction and the expected boost to local employment and the area economy is certainly the development story of the year here. However, the real impact is yet to come.
Let’s call it the “Cat” effect. It’s the wave of activity and interest in Winston-Salem created by such a major global manufacturer having shined a spotlight on what the area has to offer. Cat’s exhaustive process of selecting Winston-Salem allows site consultants and business leaders to see more clearly the advantages and unique qualities that make the area ideal.
What’s in the spotlight?
Was there one “difference maker” in the Cat deal? Although Cat execs cited multiple reasons for selecting Winston-Salem there are a few attributes that stand out, not just in this project – but in many of Winston-Salem’s successful economic development projects.
The availability of skilled workforce, the robust infrastructure, and our ideal location are givens. These are “cost of entry” attributes that any community must have in order to make the cut. But the real difference continues to be collaboration.
Winston-Salem is gaining a rather impressive reputation for bringing business, government and community leaders together to provide incoming businesses with what they need to thrive.
In addition, area companies, local government and educational institutions have drawn national attention for their ability to collaborate in the development of sophisticated training and workforce education to fit specific industry needs. (Not to mention, the ability of the area workforce to quickly adapt to new industries and new manufacturing processes.)
Where does the “Cat” effect lead? With the Cat facility groundbreaking complete, there’s still a long way to go. And in this economy, there are few, if any, certainties. But, Winston-Salem is certainly looking good in the spotlight.