Workforce development is top concern among business community - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Workforce development is top concern among business community

By Jade Bulecza - bio | email

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) –The competition for jobs is fierce these days. A community can't attract new industry without a qualified work force.

Lowndes County business leaders say that's one of their top concerns.

They're working with lawmakers and schools like Valdosta Technical College to do all they can to bring new companies to town. 

Students are adding wiring, lighting, and circuits to a commercial building. It's part of the hands-on training the industrial systems program offers at Valdosta Technical College.

"There's a lot of jobs going back to trades," said Angela Hobby, Valdosta Technical College's Marketing Director. "An electrician who was trained years ago is now in a completely different field."

Workforce development and education was ranked a top issue by the business community in Lowndes County.

 "It's the heartbeat of our recruitment quite frankly is to have that trained workforce," said Senator Tim Golden.

 He says this legislative session, they'll revisit expanding tax credits for hiring workers.

"It's been something I'm interested in," said Golden. "It's just difficult to get it passed now. The economy, as you know, revenue is off about 17 percent which is a huge hit for our state."

For those laid off from their jobs or looking to gain more experience in a certain field, Valdosta Technical college prides itself on offering shorter programs and advanced technology.

Hobby says Valdosta Technical College increases the types of programs offered to fit the needs of the community. One of those needs falls in healthcare.

"The demand for health care, that is people needing healthcare services, particularly hospital services causes us to have a high demand for labor."

South Georgia Medical Center relies on area schools including Valdosta Technical College and Valdosta State University for much of its workforce.

Legislators and business leaders also talked about energy conservation and trauma care at the Valdosta Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce Legislative Luncheon, co-hosted by the Rotary Club.


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