Wall Street Journal: “States Boost Workforce Development to Attract Employers”

A coordinator, at right, for Georgia’s Quick Start workforce-development program works with a Caterpillar Inc. trainee as they do robotics training at a facility in Athens. Tami Chappell for The Wall Street Journal

The following is an excerpt from a recent Wall Street Journal on workforce development:

Georgia has more than doubled its workforce development budget in the last four years to $30 million, according to the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness. The state has landed some big fish like Caterpillar Inc. CAT 0.00% and Baxter Bioscience, at least in part because of its Quick Start training program.

In Georgia, a new Caterpillar training center mimics the factory floor down to the colors of the lights that inform workers on their pace of productivity as they assemble tractors. On a recent day, students worked in a neatly kept facility, either on computers or using robotic welding tools.

The training runs between four and six week and costs taxpayers roughly $5,000 per person, said Rodger Brown, the executive Director for marketing at Quick Start. Mr. Brown said the training incentive—which he estimates is worth about $2 million to Caterpillar—helped clinch the deal for the state and brought 1,400 jobs that pay between $15 and $30 an hour.

Georgia “provided a very competitive package,” said Lisa Miller, a spokeswoman for Caterpillar in an email. She noted that part of that package was the “workforce training program that provides comprehensive, customized training to expanding and new businesses in the state—free of charge.”

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