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County ranks near top in income

Thomson-McDuffie Economic Development Executive Director Mike Carrington said a report in the April issue of Georgia Trend magazine demonstrates the county's success in attracting higher paying jobs.

The magazine's analysis of employment statistics in 18 East Georgia counties showed McDuffie County's per capita personal income rising to $31,028 in 2010, from $24,476 in 2001. Carrington noted that McDuffie is now second among Georgia counties in the Augusta metropolitan area, behind only Columbia County.

He said Columbia is home to many engineers and other higher paying jobs, "so it's hard to compete with them."

"I was really proud of those figures coming up," Carrington told The McDuffie Mirror. "It shows we're getting better jobs and better quality workers through our Work Ready program."

He said Georgia Work Ready prepares and certifies workers with demonstrated ability in computers and other skills. The program is in place at the high school, "and we're working to get it possibly in the middle school, too."

He said the program builds technical skills but also develops soft skills, such as interviewing.

Carrington cited examples of industrial expansion that have boosted paychecks.

"The first three years we did this we got three new plants," he said.

Thomson Plastics invested $3.5 million in a project that added 160 jobs. Amcor is in the process of a $2.5 million expansion to create 30 to 40 jobs. HP Pelzer has done a $2.5 million expansion and has added about 60 jobs. McDuffie Box Factory bought a 114,000-square-foot building from the development authority and the city of Thomson and will expand this year, with a goal of creating 30 jobs, Carrington said.

Carrington, who was quoted and pictured in the magazine article, said he is a leader in industrial recruitment, "but it's a group effort."

"Once I get verification," he said, "I bring some sort of team in there."

Utility representatives are consulted. Training agencies become involved when potential employers ask whether extra free training might be available to their workers.

"So I kind of bring all the players in once it's a deal," Carrington said.

Columbia County's per capita income was listed at $42,642, Richmond County's at $29,940 and Warren County's at $26,272.

Georgia Trend, a monthly publication, has 55,000 subscribers. Learn more at

Web posted on Thursday, April 14, 2011

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