AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) – Thousands of Savannah River Site employees are expected to retire in the next five years and millennials are eyeing those future vacancies.
Community leaders say now is the time to enact changes, that will attract the younger workforce to live in Aiken.
Restaurants, city living and even places to worship are just a few of the amenities millennials look for in a place to call home.
By 2022, nearly 3,000 millennials are expected to replace retiring Savannah River Site employees.
To attract those young people to choose living in Aiken, the city needs to change with the times.
“What we are seeing with younger professionals is they chose the place and hope they find the job. Which is different from the boomers used to do,” President and CEO of the Aiken Chamber of Commerce J. David Jameson told WJBF NewsChannel 6. “We would find the job and then get determined to love the place.”
The S.R.S. region is made up of 5 counties, including Columbia, Richmond, Aiken, Barnwell and Allendale.
So to make this a compelling place to live, this entire region has to step up their amenities to prepare for the younger workforce.
“What’s good for Augusta, is good for North Augusta,” said President and CEO of the Economic Development Partnership Will Williams. “What’s good for Aiken is good for North Augusta and Augusta. So it really is very key that all of us do well.”
“There’s a lot of rework emphasis on revitalizing Downtown Augusta, we’ve got Project Jackson. Aiken is looking at a Renaissance. We are beginning to push on some of those amenities that make the region a better quality of life,” said Rick McLeod, President and CEO S.R.S. Community Reuse Organization.
McLeod says S.R.S. is going to be around for a long time. Cleanup could be complete by 2065 at the earliest, but that doesn’t mean the site is going away.
As missions change, it opens doors for more employees and more money for the local economy.
“One of the consequences we looked at was what happens if we add or lose 1,000 people at the site, what does that mean for the local economy? The number that the economist came up with was $200 million dollars.” McLeod said.
Aiken leaders say they are currently working with Augusta leaders to bring cyber growth into South Carolina.
Count on WJBF NewsChannel 6 to bring you the latest on this developing story.