What's the secret to Henry County's economic development success?

Over $75 million in investments, over 500 new jobs announced since July

HENRY COUNTY, Va. – Over 500 new jobs and over $75 million in investments have been announced in Henry County since July.

The most recent announcement came Wednesday.

Monogram Food Solutions is spending $30 million to expand its operation in Henry County.

The expansion will create 300 new jobs.

A Polish glass manufacturer is spending more than $43.5 million to open up shop in the county, which will create 212 new jobs.

So what's the secret to Henry County's economic development success?

"It's certainly the investment we have made in our industrial parks over the last many years," said Deputy Henry County Administrator Dale Wagoner.

Wagoner said the county tries to offer businesses what he calls the 'total package.'

"We have a low tax rate, we have a low cost of operation for the businesses that locate here. We have an outstanding available workforce," said Wagoner.

Part of the reason for the outstanding workforce is the workforce training offered by the New College Institute in Martinsville.

Executive director Leanna Blevins said the institute works hand in hand with local economic development officials, the chamber of commerce, and regularly holds industry roundtables.

"Our Economic Development Corporation is actually located here in our newest facility. That's by design," said Blevins. "We want them to know, and we want the new businesses and industries to know, exactly what we're doing and exactly how we can help them."

One way the institute helps is by holding workshops like the one next week that prepare people to apply for jobs.

"They'll learn various technical skills, like in manufacturing, some soft skills, like just being able to communicate verbal and written. They will know what it takes to not only get a job, but to also keep one," said Pamela Carter Taylor, the NCI's advanced manufacturing director. 

Wagoner said that while the two recent economic development announcements just happened to happen close together, they are by no means an exception.

The county has several prospects lined up and Wagoner expects more good news for the county in the future.