Original Date: 01/22/2001
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Greene County Partnership
The Greene County Partnership plays a significant role in the economic and community development of Greeneville and Greene County. The Partnership came about by dissolving the existing four non-profit entities and merging them into one organizational structure with a broadly based board of directors to develop and oversee financing, staffing, housing, planning, policy, and program.
During the early 1990s, Greene County in northeastern Tennessee began experiencing a poor economy and double- digit unemployment rates. Local businesses were downsizing; local economic development activity was fragmented and non-responsive to the global paradigm; and the family farm was no longer a viable option despite that Greene was one of the most productive agricultural counties in the state. The leadership in Greene County recognized the need to start over economically to meet these unprecedented challenges. In 1994, the existing four non-profit entities were dissolved and merged into the Greene County Partnership.
The Greene County Partnership operates as a single organization with one broad-based board, one budget, and one staffing plan. By implementing this approach, the community leaders strived to eliminate duplicate human/financial resources; be all-inclusive and build consensus; rebuild the local economy by correcting weaknesses and creating positive change to make Greeneville/Greene County more attractive to business and industry; and expand funding through public/private sources to maintain a professional staff, facilities, and resources. The Partnership’s first high visibility activity was the Goals Conference, in which the greater community was invited to participate in a one-day facilitated forum to define specific goals and an operating plan for the organization. One idea suggested at this Conference evolved into Partners In Education, a state-recognized job shadowing program that has created 93 master partnerships among schools, businesses, and industry.
The Greene County Partnership has become quite successful as a results-oriented economic and community development organization. Since 1993, the Partnership has recruited 16 new industries and assisted in dozens of local expansions; obtained 7,000 jobs and over $400 million in new capital investments; implemented the Annual Manufacturing Wage & Benefit Survey to provide timely and confidential wage/benefit information to local companies; and achieved a top ten ranking in the U.S. for small markets for new industrial locations and expansion activities. Millions of new tourism dollars have also been incorporated into the local economy through the Partnership’s efforts to recruit festivals, conferences, and sporting events.
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