As the 2000s rolled on, the MCEDC kept focused on its mission of recruiting and retaining jobs in Marshall County. After a comprehensive Capital Fundraising Campaign that wrapped up in 2001, the organization had the private funding to take on a new roll in the community: Workforce Development. Workforce Development became the third leg of our stool and the staff and board looked for ways to partner with local education providers to provide the training that the local business community needed.
In 2004, the all but defunct Marshall County Manufacturers Association was revived and became the mechanism to bring training providers and manufacturers together. Since then, the MCMA is as strong as ever and works in partnership with the MCEDC to help ascertain the needs business have and provide a unified voice for them in the community.
New companies located in the area, existing industries grew and expanded and the MCEDC became that link for educators and business people to talk. In 2008, the MCEDC sponsored a major strategic planning initiative for Marshall County. Stakeholders, local civic and business leaders came together and developed a comprehensive plan called Vision Marshall which was a roadmap for Marshall County to envision what it could and should be in the future. Many of the tenants of the plan were adopted and it remains a great example of community cooperation.
Since the economic downturn beginning in late 2008, Marshall County has seen a couple major layoffs and higher unemployment rates. The unemployment rate went from a low of 2.5% in early 2008 to 10.0% in mid-2009. Shifts like that have major impacts on the community. Since 2012 our unemployment has leveled off in the 5.5% - 6.5% range which while not ideal, is still manageable. Our civilian labor pool is growing and that is good despite what the unemployment rate is. The MCEDC has been able to put new companies in vacant facilities like Pinnacle Manufacturing which located in the former Homes of Legends building and Southern Parallel which located in the Bowater facility which shut down in 2009. In 2012, Newman Technology announced it would build a $20M facility and employ about 60 people. The Tier One Honda supplier just wrapped up a $29M expansion and is on tract to employ almost 300 by the spring of 2015. As stated before, such is the cycle of economic development and why it is important to have an organization focused on building the partnerships necessary to keep this cycle flowing.