Washington, D.C.— Congressman Tom Rice (SC-07) today held an Economic Development Resources Forum to provide Seventh District economic developers and community leaders with the tools they need to compete statewide and  nationally.

The forum examined ways business owners and entrepreneurs in South Carolina’s Seventh Congressional District can work together to create more jobs and attract new businesses to the area.  Emphasis Areas, led by the University of South Carolina’s Office of Economic Engagement, focused on entrepreneurship and the local resources available to our community’s job creators.

“It was great to see our community leaders come together today and focus on jobs,” said Congressman Rice.  “Today’s forum showcased some of the tools our Seventh District entrepreneurs, economic developers, and community leaders can utilize to spur economic growth in our area.  My priority as a public servant has always been, and will always be, job creation.  A healthy and competitive economy creates jobs, keeps crime low, and leads to an overall better quality of life.”

University of South Carolina’s Office of Economic Engagement Executive Director Bill Kirkland, Palmetto College Chancellor Dr. Susan Elkins, and Seventh District Congressman Tom Rice delivered remarks.  In attendance were economic developers, county administrators, county council chairmen (or council representatives), and members of the media. 

Notable Quotes about the forum:

“USC has taken an active role in forming business and industry partnerships to boost the economic prosperity of South Carolina,” said University of South Carolina President Harris Pastides. “Our new Office of Economic Engagement is dedicated to fostering statewide economic growth through increased commercialization of cutting edge research, connecting new and existing businesses with university resources and creating an environment where entrepreneurial students, faculty and staff can thrive.  Palmetto College provides rural, working or place-bound South Carolinians an innovative way to advance their careers by completing a bachelor’s degree online without leaving their jobs, families or communities.  Through intensified economic engagement and our focus on flexibility, accessibility and academic excellence USC is poised to meet the future needs of our state.”

“The importance of economic development is something that's not lost on the citizens of the NESA region,” remarked Jeff McKay, Executive Director, The North Eastern Strategic Alliance (NESA). “That's the great thing about Congressman Rice and this forum. It shows that we as a region have an understanding of the significance of being engaged in economic development.  To bring a forum of this caliber together to discuss economic development issues within our region is special, Congressman Rice is commended for that. And what better place to hold an event like this than the SiMT? It's one of the great drivers of economic development in our region with some of best workforce training programs in the country and allows for access to top flight technology, which wouldn't be possible otherwise. ”