MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — From small businesses to manufacturing lines, and the front lines of our country’s defense, business is booming in Montgomery County.
For Jeff Truitt and the rest of the Economic Development Council in Clarksville, it’s been a busy decade.
“We’ve got to keep our foot on the gas pedal,” he said. “We’ve named Google, Hankook, and LG. Any community out there would give anything just to name one of those that has come into their community, and we’ve got all three of those the past few years.”
The most recent large opening, a new LG Electronics washing machine plant.
“Whenever you have economic development, the changes are good,” said Gov. Bill Lee, the day the plant officially opened. “Wages go up, more employment, it benefits the entire community and that’s what’s gonna happen because of the opening of this plant.”
With an estimated 600 jobs added to the economy, LG will soon be one of the county’s top employers, joining the likes of Agero and Bridgestone, according to the county industrial development website.
While manufacturing booms, the food industry sizzles as well.
According to data on the county’s website done by Headlight Data, over a five year span ending in 2021, restaurants are expected to create the most jobs at nearly 15-hundred. That number nearly doubles the next closest industry.
For some locally owned restaurants though, like Moss’ Southern Cooking, filling a staff full time can be a struggle.
“I’ve been here 22 years. I used to have fun. But you know, it gets harder,” said Shelya Moss, restaurant owner. “I hear on TV that ‘I can’t get a job, I can’t get a job.’ I’m thinking, ‘hello, I’m right here.'”
The county though is in a unique position, with a steady stream of employees coming from just up the road at Fort Campbell.
“We are a bit of an anomaly,” said Truitt. “We have this economic engine that is pumping out 350 to 450 soldiers every single month. That sets us apart.”
A labor analysis done just two years ago, found that only 20 percent to 30 percent leaving Ft. Campbell stayed in the county.
Truitt and others are now making this a priority, with a plan in place for better soldier retention.
“Today we capture about 49 percent of those soldiers,” he said. “We’re doing our part outside the fence, outside the gate, to be ready to help those soldiers as they transition.”
The future of Montgomery County alights with the future of Middle Tennessee, as officials hope to balance a rising population with controlled growth.
For county officials, the dream is to diversify the labor market. Truitt hopes to attract high playing class A office jobs. The council is currently working on trying to build an office park, perhaps near the interstate.
“That’s something we’re working daily on,” said Truiit. “We’ve got to bring in some of those class A office space jobs that are higher paying, six digit jobs, to keep those people from having to travel down I-24 every day to get a job, or to work.”
But with the likes of LG, Hankook, Google, the military and more, Montgomery County’s future seems bright.
For those seeking information on the Soldier For Life Transition Program, click here.
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