Albany leaders talk workforce development

Albany leaders talk workforce development
Community leaders came together (Source: WALB)
Two panels were held (Source: WALB)
Two panels were held (Source: WALB)

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Having a skilled workforce in the Albany community is critical to both employers and those preparing for jobs.

So, the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce gathered employers and educators to discuss solutions.

"If we do not have excellent education opportunities of all types in our community, we're going to lose business," explained Deerfield-Windsor School's Geoffrey Sudderth. "Flip side of that. We're going to fail to attract business to our area."

Education and industry leaders celebrated where they are succeeding, but hashed out how they could build off of each other to do even better.

"They're looking broadly for the most talented people," said Chamber President Barbara Rivera Holmes. "So, we need our region to supply the most talented people."

That's something others in the business community can agree with.

The Marine Corps Logistics Base employs about 4,000 employees.

MCLB leader David Clifton said the base is planning on focusing its hiring at the entry level.

"The primary recruiting focus is entry level interns," Clifton said. "Right now, we have 47 of those. My goal is to double or quadruple."

Clifton added that developing soft skills can be as critical as keeping up with technology and educators are prepared to meet that challenge.

"We have some great programs already in place between the business community and industry partners," Holmes said. "But we're looking for ways to improve that, whether that's internship opportunities or training opportunities."

The Commodore Conyers Career Academy will offer a soft skills coach and lab.

So for now, the state of the community is harmonious, but could always do a little better.

ASU President Art Dunning added that there are some challenges ahead for the institution.

The university is changing to meet new demands like more employers requiring a four-year degree.

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