Franklin needs to create business plan

Published 9:37 am Friday, June 3, 2011

by Thomas H. Councill Jr.

Our town needs more cash to take care of the home folk who live here, and we need to work as one united town to beat our money woes.

Since we don’t have enough jobs for local folks to make the cash we need to live on, we find ourselves in big trouble. Franklin is home, and our home needs more jobs. And we need those jobs to be good jobs — a job that you can pay your bills on, eat, raise your family and have some left over for fun.

We must come together and demand that the City Council do the same. We must make them work for us. We need jobs now, not in the by and by, but right now.

Well, what can they do?

For a start, they can bring smart people together to see what kind of shape we are in, and then decide what we need to do to get us more jobs. We must make them get along long enough for them to come up with a real jobs plan that will work for all of us.

The City of Franklin is in real trouble. Here’s why.

The 2000 Census shows that the city’s total population is around 8,346. According to the Virginia Employment Commission’s December 2010 data placed on the Franklin/Southampton Economic Development website, Franklin has a labor force of 3,988.

This means that 4,358 Franklin residents are not a part of the local labor force, or 52 percent of the city is unavailable to work.

I repeat, the VEC’s December 2010 data state that Franklin has a labor force of 3,988 people. Of the local labor pool, 3,458 people are working and 520 people are not working for a 13 percent unemployment rate.

If you combine all those city residents who are unavailable for work with those available to work but without a job, we have an unemployment rate of 65 percent. This means money is not being made, and our greenbacks are not being passed around from a job to a store to another store to a church or to the government.

Approximately 68 percent of the workers in Franklin’s labor pool work for companies, 20 percent work for the government and 4 percent are self-employed.

We need a job creation master plan to bring in small businesses and help local folks start micro-businesses. A micro-enterprise is a business with five or fewer employees. Micro-enterprises are the smallest of the small businesses.

It’s a basic idea: More business means more jobs.

We must fight for a Micro-Enterprise Development Strategies Master Plan and we need to involve the Downtown Franklin Association, Franklin-Southampton Area Chamber of Commerce, micro-lenders, Virginia Small Business Administration, Virginia Housing Development Agency, Hampton Roads Planning District, Virginia Department of Minority Business Enterprise, Paul D. Camp Community College and local Realtors.

We must unite and fight to identify funding and plan implementation assistance. We need to partner with micro-loan lenders (a micro-loan is a loan of under $50,000 made to businesses with five or fewer employees) and host technical and business training assistance workshops. We must also unite to create a local entrepreneurs’ network.

I hereby request that everyone who is in agreement with me, get in touch with your City Council representative and demand that your spokesperson vote to direct the city manager to pursue creating a local job creation plan.

THOMAS H. COUNCILL JR. is a Franklin resident. His e-mail address is