Collaboration was the theme of a panel discussion today centered on workforce development at in Acworth.
Despite Georgia’s unemployment rate of 9.7 percent, employers are looking for workers, and that’s where collaboration comes into play, moderator Ron Banta said. The question is how to get workers into the jobs.
One thing the state is doing is to offer its Work Ready program just to those who are unemployed as a way for them to gain skills needed to move forward, said Tricia Pridemore, the executive director of the Governor's Office of Workforce Development. This year, 16,500 skilled jobs are expected to become available, Pridemore said.
“This will be a good way to put Georgia back to work," she said.
The Technical College System of Georgia, which was touted several times during the event, is all about collaboration to make sure its colleges are training students in the skills required for available jobs, said Josephine Reed-Taylor, the system’s deputy commissioner.
“We can create a program in a very short period of time,” Reed-Taylor said.
And, on the state level, the Department of Labor needs to partner with employers.
“What we're trying to do is be an advocate to make sure they're getting the right kind of workforce,” Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said.
Also a subject of the panel’s discussion was the high school dropout rate, which Bartow County School Superintendent John Harper said results from disinterest.
One way that Harper’s school system hopes to capture the interest of homeschooled students and those who might have dropped out is through the proposed College Career Academy. Alternate measures are needed because not all students will go to four-year colleges or universities.
“We're having to retool because that’s not where the workforce is today,” Harper said.
To see our complete coverage of the workforce panel event, read our live blog above.