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Toll Free: 800-554-4373

Charlotte Regional Partnership
550 South Caldwell Street, Suite 760
Charlotte, NC 28202

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Monday Memo Heading

Building the middle class one job at a time

"Reckoning with these deepening class and geographic divides, finding and implementing a set of policies that can build a sustainable prosperity for everyone, is the toughest and, at the same time, most urgent challenge we face."

– Richard Florida   

There has been a lot written about the shrinking middle class, and a number of reasons have been put forth as to the reasons. According to Joshua Wright, senior editor at Economic Modeling Specialists, Inc. (EMSI), about a quarter of all new jobs since 2010 fall in the mid-wage range, with about 29 percent paying high wages and  46 percent being low-wage, paying less than $13.84 per hour. Rather than bemoaning the decline of the middle class, let’s ensure that Charlotte USA has workers with the skills required to take middle-class career paths.

Among the fastest growing mid-wage jobs are those in manufacturing, energy and health care sectors that the Charlotte Regional Partnership targets during business development trips. All of the jobs in these sectors that pay middle-class salaries require post-secondary education, either certifications or at least two-year degrees that our regional community colleges offer. Well-paying available jobs include welders, inspectors, tractor-trailer truck drivers andcomputer-controlled machine tool operators – the fastest growing job in this category, which has seen a 17 percent increase in new hires across the country over the last three years.

The education that people need to make solid middle-class salaries is readily available. Carolinas College of Health Sciences at Carolinas Medical Center, for example, offers two-year programs in histotechnology, medical laboratory science, nursing and radiation therapy. Long-term unemployed and underemployed mid-level professionals can apply for training scholarships through Central Piedmont Community College’s REACH IT (Regional Effort to Advance Charlotte Information Technology) program. Applications are being accepted now for the Health Information Technology program, and they will be accepted starting in November for the program in Business Information Technology. Central Piedmont and South Piedmont Community College offer mechatronics engineering technology programs. The Prosperity for Greater Charlotte Report that came out of the Centralina Economic Development Study includes an asset inventory that cross-references classes at each community college with jobs in demand in the regional workplace.

Each of our community colleges offers pathways to becoming middle class. But there’s a catch. Society must stop stigmatizing kids (or adults) who have a knack for working with their hands or understanding how to fix things. Whether so-called blue collar or white collar, good jobs today all require critical thinking skills. We need the electricians and nurses to analyze problems and come up with solutions to keep our homes and power plants and hospitals operating and our economy humming. Campaigns such as the Future Workforce Alliance’s “Get not out of your life” and STEMersion, a business-education initiative, among other programs, are telling parents, teachers and workers themselves about the excellent career paths to middle-class lives. Manufacturing companies in our region are throwing open their doors, inviting people to see the clean, high-tech work environments where employees on the plant floor wear khakis and golf shirts to operate computer-programmed machines.

Likely, you would agree that these are good, solid well-paying jobs. Then ask yourself if you would enthusiastically support your child if he or she chose one that did not require a four-year degree. If we are to build our economy with sustainable prosperity for all, we must believe that the jobs we create are good ones – for everyone.

Marketing Charlotte USA

Take a look at the great article in FDiIntelligence that positions Charlotte USA as a top U.S. location for German companies to find success. “German Investors Pick North Carolina” mentions Schletter’s decision to invest $27 million in its new headquarters and production operations in Shelby and quotes the Partnership’s David Swenson. Free sign-up is required to read the article, which resulted from our national PR campaign.

ED guide highlights Charlotte USA successes

The Partnership’s 2013-2014 Charlotte USA Economic Development Guide is now online. The annual publication highlights advanced manufacturing in our region and focuses on some of the reasons why companies in energy, aerospace, motorsports, financial services, health and life sciences, and film succeed. Charlotte Regional Partnership stakeholders can download a widget at to put the guide on their own websites. Enjoy!

Get the scoop on data centers

Apple, AT&T, Bed Bath and Beyond, Disney, Time Warner Cable. These are just a few of the household names that have chosen Charlotte USA for large data centers. A panel of experts will explain why this is such an attractive area for data centers during CREQLive! on October 25th. Charlotte Business Journal Senior Staff Writer Will Boye will moderate as panelists look at data centers and their impact on the commercial real estate industry. The Charlotte Regional Partnership is a sponsor of the Commercial Real Estate Quarterly event, which is being presented by the Charlotte Business Journal and Charlotte Region Commercial Board of Realtors. More information is here.

Getting around gets easier from CLT 

In another demonstration of its commitment to Charlotte, US Airways will begin seasonal nonstop service between Charlotte Douglas International Airport and Barcelona, Brussels, Lisbon and Manchester, England, this spring.Service to Barcelona, Lisbon and Manchester will begin May 22nd. The Barcelona flights will run through late October, while those between CLT and Lisbon and Manchester will operate through late September. Service to Brussels will run June 5th through early September. Reservations are being accepted now for all four new routes. With the additions of the new flights, US Airways will serve 38 international destinations from CLT – 10 cities in Europe and 28 in Canada, Mexico, Latin America, South America and the Caribbean. That equates to 145 airports in 28 countries.

There also will be a new airline in town next year. Beginning February 12th, Frontier Airlines will fly nonstop between Charlotte Douglas International Airport and Trenton-Mercer Airport in Ewing, N.J. One flight in each direction will operate Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.

Locations, expansions, contractions

3D Systems plans to invest $10.9 million and create 133 jobs when the expansion of its York County operation is complete by 2018.

Yodle has cut the ribbon on its larger Charlotte space in the Cambridge Corporate Center. With 35,000 square feet, the local online marketing company will have room for its current 120 employees, the 130 it is planning to add, and future workers as the company grows.

Wells Fargo plans to open its East Coast social reputation command center in Charlotte. Employees at the center, which will open in November, will monitor and manage Wells’ social media activities.

R&D Plastics is investing $1.286 million in a new 20,000-square-foot warehouse and production line in Hickory. The company broke ground on the warehouse last week and will create 16 jobs when the new production line begins operating, bringing total employment to 68.

Gildan Activewear Inc. will invest $130 million and add another 184 jobs in Rowan County to build a second manufacturing facility. The Canadian company’s Gildan Yarns subsidiary will construct a yarn-spinning plant in Salisbury to meet demand for its apparel. 

Ferti Technologies plans to invest $3 million in Statesville for its first East Coast manufacturing operation. The Canadian company expects initially to hire 10 people in Iredell County to produce fertilizer for commercial and residential lawn and garden markets. The project was identified during the Charlotte Regional Partnership’s business development trip to Montreal in May.

BeBevCo announced plans to add 100 jobs at its Statesville headquarters and distribution center over the next 24 months. The four-year-old company makes Koma Unwind relaxation drink that is available in stores throughout the world.

Octapharma Plasma Inc. will invest $39.2 million to expand in Charlotte and add 45 jobs. The Swiss company, which will move to the larger Westlake Business Park building when it is completed in mid-2014, has been in Charlotte since 2009.The plasma that Octapharma Plasma collects is used to in drugs needed in emergency medical care and in the treatment of chronic diseases and immune and coagulation disorders.

The Silverman Group is planning to build a $16 million, 400,000-square-foot spec building in the SL Concord Airport Business Park. It will be the largest building ever built in Concord on spec. 

Affinia Group Inc. announced that it will relocate its headquarters to Gastonia from Ann Arbor, Mich. The company, which designs, manufactures, distributes and markets industrial grade products and services, already has its Global Filtration group in Gastonia. Affinia expects to move throughout 2014.

Telerx Marketing Inc. says it will add 160 jobs at its Kings Mountain call center by the end of January. The Pennsylvania-based company, which already has 130 employees there, provides services to companies in the consumer products, health-care and pharmaceutical industries.


Congratulations to Lancaster County Economic Development Corporation for receiving a Silver Excellence in Economic Development Award from the International Economic Development Council for its website redesign. The Lancaster County EDC won in the category of General Purpose Website for communities with populations of 25,000 – 200,000. The award recognizes Lancaster County Economic Development Corporation as being one of the leading organizations in the industry for innovation, creativity and successful strategies that is dedicated to making a positive change in its community. You can view the website with its more user-friendly format at

Kudos to the UNC Charlotte students whose solar house, UrbanEden, captured the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2013 Solar Decathlon People's Choice Award and tied for third in the engineering contest. Overall, the UNC Charlotte sustainable houseplaced 13th. The team was one of only 20 from around the world whose submission was accepted for entry into the competition. The solar house is on its way back to UNC Charlotte, where it will be on display.

Investor profile

Our investors’ commitment to regionalism allows us to continue and enhance our mission-critical efforts to generate qualified projects, create awareness of the many assets our region offers businesses, and assist communities in responding to projects requests. This week we highlight the Charlotte Region Commercial Board of Realtors. When you see a member of the company, please thank them for their support of Charlotte USA. 

The Charlotte Region Commercial Board of Realtors is the voice of commercial real estate for the Charlotte region. CRCBR is the resource for commercial property information ( with members available to assist in commercial real estate needs ( The organization strives to maximize regional economic opportunities through the delivery of technical services, educational and professional enrichment, and targeted marketing to benefit the regional commercial real estate industry.

Have a great week!


Ronnie L. Bryant, CEcD, FM, HLM
President & CEO


Activities and Events

NCEDA Fall Conference - October 21-22 - Asheville

National Business Aviation Association Convention & Exhibition - October 22-24 - Las Vegas - Details

"Where Innovation Begins," Charlotte Life Sciences Conference 2013 - October 24 - UNC Charlotte - Details

"Doing Business in China" - October 24, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. - The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte - Details

CREQLive!, sponsored by the Charlotte Business Journal - October 25, 8:15-10:30 a.m. - UNC Charlotte Center City - Details

Defense Contractor Academy, presented by the N.C. Military Business Center - October 28-30, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. - Central Piedmont Community College - Details

Global Food Equipment & Technology Show - November 3-6 - Chicago - Details

Power-Gen - November 12-14 - Orlando - Details

Charlotte Regional Partnership Jerry Awards - May 20, 2014, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. - Charlotte Convention Center


In Category: Monday Memo

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