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Those who attended last Thursday’s “State of Union County” meeting held at the Magnolia Civic Center may have left with some mixed feelings about the future of Union County’s development.
CREATE Foundation Senior Vice President Lewis Whitfield offered some statistics about Union County’s status among the 16 counties that the non-profit organization represents, with the goal of helping attendees begin to think about preparing for future growth.
Among the numbers Whitfield presented, Union County’s education statistics were mixed. For example, while Union County and New Albany School Districts’ drop out rates are lower than the state average and their graduation rates are higher, the number of citizens who finish with a college degree remains low.
“Only 14 percent of those entering high school are finishing with a college degree or higher,” Whitfield said.
“The education of local residents has an effect on what kinds of industries and businesses come to Union County. That’s something that you should take a look at,” he said.
Whitfield also proposed that residents begin to think about whether the local city and county governments are ready for Toyota to come here. He suggested that one way to do that would be to look at providing broadband access in New Albany to all its citizens.
“I think you all have some great assets in your community,” Whitfield said. “But you should look at developing a comprehensive plan process to decide what your identity will be in the future.”