Take Your Pick: Survey? Gridlock?
Cherokee wants to provide closer-to-home employment options and officials need 15 minutes of your time.
If you're one of the more than 42,000 residents who leave Cherokee County to work somewhere else and you're tired of fighting traffic along Interstates 575 and 75, stop what you're doing.
The Cherokee Office of Economic Development, which recruits businesses to the county, wants to help.
But officials need to know where you work, what you do and how much you make so they can target the right companies.
They've had a 15-minute commuter survey on the agency's website, cherokeega.org, since early November. Residents have until Dec. 31 to fill it out, and despite inserts in water bills, Facebook posts, e-mails and other advertisements, only 300 people have completed a survey, said Misti Whitfield Martin, the president of the Office of Economic Development.
Martin said it is vital that people participate in the survey. The Office of Economic Development isn't trying to lure just any kind of company.
More professionals flee Cherokee during the day than any other county in metro Atlanta, according to a recent Atlanta Regional Commission report. There are 90,789 workers in Cherokee, but only 48,199 jobs. A lot of them are in the retail industry, which doesn't pay much.
Officials suspect that is why so many Cherokee residents subject themselves to long commutes and traffic headaches. The better paying jobs are outside of the county.
"The end goal (of this survey)," Martin said, "is to recruit more white-collar type business and to keep our residents in Cherokee County for work."
Cherokee, she said, has a number of things that those kinds of companies look for when choosing a business location: available infrastructure, good schools, low property taxes, housing at all price ranges.
But it lacks hard data that would convince high-paying, corporate employers to give Cherokee a serious look.
"The resident survey," Martin said, "will help us prove that there is (an) available white-collar workforce in Cherokee County when headquarters-type projects consider the community for a location."
Coming Monday: Monday Morning Commute, a weekly feature that introduces Canton-Sixes Patch readers to professionals in our community who spend their mornings and evenings on I-575.