Gov. Haley, SC county leaders to develop rural areas - WFXG FOX 54 - News Now

Gov. Haley, SC county leaders to develop rural areas

Some life-long residents of Edgefield County are losing faith in the community they call "under productive."

"Personally, if you want to know the truth, I think we're living in the last days, and I think everything you're going to start seeing go down."

This is exactly what Governor Nikki Haley is trying to prevent. Monday morning the governor addressed dozens of South Carolina leaders at the 23rd annual Rural Summit; re-igniting interest in advancing the state's rural counties.

"Now we're starting to see this rebirth in rural areas to where they are going to be the stars of South Carolina, and we are seeing companies that want to move there," Governor Haley said. 

In order to attract large corporations to the Palmetto State, its rural communities need to prove they're ready to work; boosting high school graduation rates, developing worker skills and improving infrastructure; certification Barnwell County has applied for through the state.

"These certificates that these potential employees have will help me sell our county on being work-ready," said Marty Martin, head of Barnwell County Economic Development.

Although Aiken County isn't certified, they recently announced a recycling company will bring 200 jobs to Graniteville; less than two years after Bridgestone's manufacturing facility created nearly 1,000 jobs in the area. It's these opportunities Edgefield County residents want to see.

"I've been unemployed for a long time," said Hardy Hicks, he lives on the border of Edgefield and Aiken Counties.

"We hardly have no jobs." said Jo Poole. She's lived in Edgefield County her whole life. "It needs more businesses, we need more grocery stores."

Edgefield County has not yet applied for "work-ready" certification, but with a passion to enhance this community along with other rural areas, these county leaders are working to make South Carolina thrive.

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