HALLmark Initiative Highlights & Accomplishments

In 1994, our community came together to implement the HallTogether program, a four-year community and economic development initiative for the Greater Hall County area. That initiative was reinforced in 2000 with the HALLmark Initiative. As a result of these programs, over the past 10 years we have gained hundreds of new jobs and millions of dollars of new investment.

The HALLmark Initiative began in July 2001. Since then, we have experienced a recession, 9-11, the constant move of manufacturing to off-shore countries and a technology ‘bust.” Even so, our community has experienced the following positive economic successes:

€ Gainesville-Hall County acquired over $215 million in new investment (July 2003-June 2005) from new and existing industry.

€ Some 1,035 new jobs have been created from new and existing industry (July 2003- June 2005).

€ Our community has maintained a low unemployment rate.

€ 100% Freeport Exemption in Gainesville and Hall County now directly benefits manufacturers and distribution companies.

€ Through the Chamber’s Human Resources Council , 60 companies are participating in the Greater Hall Chamber Drugs Don’t Work program with 30 certified as Drug Free Workplaces by the Georgia State Board of Workers Compensation

€ In 2004, the new Lanier Career Center opened, a partnership of the Hall County School System and Lanier Technical College, and gives students non-traditional education and career-based options.

€ Education and workforce initiatives added new apprenticeships in local companies in the fields of education, healthcare, technology and manufacturing.

€ In 2002, the Lake Lanier Technology Alliance was founded to foster the growth of industry through development, education, and promotion of the region and its technology professionals. To date the alliance has 70 members and has reached over 300 regional technology professionals.

€ The development of a new Youth Leadership Hall program expands leadership training to our high school students.

€ In July 2005, the loan for the new Chamber facility was completely paid.

€ State lobbying efforts for Tort Reform passed the State Legislature in 2005.

€ Enhanced lobbying of local, state and federal governments and private entities continue to secure needed infrastructure for water, sewer, roads, industrial parks, business parks and high-end retailers.

€ The Partners in Education program continues to expand and currently has over 200 business/school partnerships in Gainesville and Hall County.

€ The Chamber has a proactive Healthcare Committee addressing health and wellness issues affecting business.

€ A new Chamber logo has been developed along with the updating and retooling of websites and marketing materials.

€ With the renovation of the Chamber facility, an expanded Welcome Center was introduced and continues to serve local citizens and visitors to the area along with the operation of the I-985 Regional Welcome Center.

€ With a focus on small businesses, the Chamber continues its series of seminars featuring issues and topics of interest to small business owners.

€ Due to its success, the Leads Group expanded to South Hall County. Both a Gainesville and South Hall Leads Group meet every other week.

€ Leadership development will remain a central part of the Chamber’s program of work. Last spring, over 125 community leaders met for a Leadership Summit. From this meeting, a visioning process for our community was initiated.