When our economic development team meets with companies who are looking to re-locate or expand, a topic that consistently comes up is workforce – which makes sense. Finding the right employees to run a manufacturing facility, cold chain distribution, IT or sales operation can cost time (which ultimately means money) and could make or break the future of your business.
In early April, Gov. Deal announced the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development would be repositioned under the Georgia Department of Economic Development as the Workforce Division. With the addition of Workforce, the Georgia Department of Economic Development is better equipped to support and continue to build on Georgia’s growing workforce infrastructure.
Because the economic development community in Georgia, led by Governor Deal, has heard from the private sector that one of the greatest challenges facing businesses in Georgia, nationally and globally is the need for a consistent, trained and reliable workforce, the Workforce division has already been tasked with a new initiative.
Governor Deal created the High Demand Career Initiative (HDCI) in response to the challenges facing workforce today. HDCI, led by the Workforce division, will allow those involved in training Georgia’s future workforce – the University System of Georgia (USG) and the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) – to hear directly from the private sector about what specific needs they have from a workforce perspective (e.g., competencies, degrees/majors, certificates, etc.). The decision makers from each of these entities are coming together, at one table, to provide a clearer picture of what Georgia businesses need and how Georgia’s existing assets can assist and/or how the public and private sector can collectively tackle any gaps, one by one.
HDCI will offer a series of industry specific meetings, targeting key businesses and education entities, to create the ideal environment for engaging conversation around workforce needs.
Governor Deal kicked off HDCI by hosting three general meetings – Atlanta, Georgia Tech, April 15; Rome, Georgia Northwestern Technical College, April 21; and Statesboro, Georgia Southern University, May 13.
The Workforce Division is continuing to host 10 additional industry specific meetings across the state that focus on Agriculture, Film, Information Technology Aerospace, Healthcare, Auto Manufacturing, Logistics and Military – just to name a few. These meetings will take place through October 21, 2014.
Outside of leading HDCI, the Workforce Division’s primary role is to oversee Workforce Investment Act (WIA)-funded activities under the leadership of the State Workforce Investment Board. WIA funds are allotted to dislocated workers, low-income adults and youth and administered specifically through services geared toward helping disadvantaged citizens obtain meaningful employment. The Workforce Division provides mandatory statewide activities and tools, such as a case management system and programmatic and financial monitoring, which is completed annually for each of the 19 local WIA areas across the state.
While the Workforce Division’s primary responsibility is managing the WIA program – the office is also focused on connecting the education and training in Georgia with in-demand jobs. Through WIA funds and other grants, the Workforce Division heads up three main initiatives:
This program is designed to educate the younger generation about the value of learning a skilled trade and inspire young people to consider pursuing these career paths. Through public awareness initiatives, social media promotion and a dynamic web portal, Go Build aims to provide better opportunities for craft tradesmen, more highly skilled employees for businesses and enhanced economic development for Georgia and the nation.
This program is geared towards Georgia’s veterans. This resource serves as a one-stop-shop for veteran’s looking for employment as well as businesses seeking to hire veterans. This program serves to facilitate the seamless transition of veterans into the civilian workforce. Operation: Workforce provides the resources necessary to connect unemployed veterans with the best job for their skill set, ensuring that the skills they have acquired and developed in service to our country are fully utilized in the private sector.
This initiative offers a variety of services to assist dislocated workers, including seminars in interviewing, resume writing, salary negotiation and computer use. Rapid Response specialists also coordinate with local service agencies and community partners to provide integrated job seeker services and support families in meeting financial needs due to dislocated employment.