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Director of Business Retention and Workforce Initiatives Leigh Acevedo

Whether you are an employer of two or 2,000+, COVID-19 is impacting everyone in Chatham County and SEDA is here to be a resource for your business. What’s happening with the spread of COVID-19 is challenging in many ways: professional and personal, and everything in between. And while there are uncertainties ahead, SEDA has staff dedicated to responding to industry needs and we will continue to flex as we need to, no matter the twists or turns. Right now, we are working diligently to make sure we continue to serve our industry partners in Chatham County by collecting data on impacts to the area business community, staying informed on relevant programs and resources, and keeping in touch with business owners and operators.

We do our job best when we know what’s happening with you and your business. So, I do have an ask: if you’re a business owner or decision maker for your site, please fill out this business impact survey (less than 10 minutes) that will help inform us on what your immediate impacts and needs are. Collecting this information is crucial for us to best serve the business community.

At the same time, we are also making personal outreach to as many existing Chatham area companies in our targeted industry clusters. I have spoken with a small manufacturing company co-owner who furloughed their six staff and needed assistance deciphering the DoL’s procedures and wanted to know more about the request from our partners at the state for facilities who can make PPE for healthcare workers. I have spoken with the site manager of a large distribution center for a brand name retailer who was actively hiring due to the increased demand for e-commerce. I have spoken with a plant manager for a chemical operation who moved up the plant’s planned annual shut down and is doing scheduled maintenance with a skeleton crew. And I have spoken to the co-owner of a specialty food manufacturer who was interested in learning more about the disaster loan programs from the SBA.

As director of business retention and workforce initiatives, my job is essentially to serve as an industry concierge, a hub in a network of local, regional and state partners who each have resources to offer the business community. Because I primarily serve employers within advanced manufacturing and logistics and distribution, the resource page we developed for SEDA’s website may skew in that direction, but the Savannah area is fortunate to count many advocacy and support organizations in our midst.

We could never name them all, but The Creative Coast, the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce, Savannah chapter of SCORE, Savannah Downtown Business Association, and Tourism Leadership Council are but a few of the organizations who have quickly mobilized to support local businesses; while organizations like United Way of the Coastal Empire, America’s Second Harvest, Step Up Savannah, Emmaus House and so many more are providing resources for individuals and families who may be facing a scarcity of resources due to lost income.

Together with our partners and friends, SEDA will continue to connect people to resources and information for our industry partners in Chatham area industry, even if remotely.