The Coosa Valley RDC serves 10 counties in Northwest Georgia, including Walker and Catoosa. It has three broad purposes: providing planning services for the region, workforce development and services for the aging, Steiner said.
It has paid for retraining for laid-off employees and summer youth jobs programs, using federal, state and local funds. Steiner said for every dollar the RDC receives from local governments, it receives $48 from the state and federal governments.
He illustrated job training with the sport of hockey. “You don’t want to be where the puck is, you want to be where it’s going. We try to drive (job-seekers) to where jobs are going to be.”
Two primary fields for the future are health care and the auto industry. Volkswagen’s construction of a manufacturing plant in Chattanooga increases opportunities for Northwest Georgia. Steiner said the construction of a BMW plant in South Carolina a few years ago created a ring of 39 tier-one suppliers.
The RDC has requested that a $2.4 million expansion and renovation of its headquarters on Jackson Hill be funded through the special purpose, local option sales tax, if voters approve extending the SPLOST in the November election. Gordon County could offer another site without the expansion.
The RDC SPLOST application first has to be recommended by an advisory committee to the Floyd County Commission.
The 10-county Coosa Valley RDC and the five-county North Georgia RDC are scheduled to merge in July. With a combined population of 823,770, the merged organization’s area will be the second largest in the state, behind only the metro Atlanta planning commission, whose 10 counties will have a combined population of 4.1 million.