ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Two outside groups have been hired in efforts to expand Albany business and create new jobs.
In efforts to show new businesses why they should come to Albany, the Economic Development Commission (EDC) is trying something new for the first time.
“Focus on growing businesses here and bringing jobs to the area,” said Brooke Lucas, with the Pendleton Group.
The EDC will hire two new groups to do just this.
“Pendleton’s expertise in building connections around the state really stood out in their proposal,” said EDC President Justin Strickland.
The Pendleton Group out of Atlanta and the Carl Vinson Institute of Government with the University of Georgia will work together here in Albany.
The goal is to discover what has kept businesses here and what could attract new ones.
“I think working with the businesses here to understand the success that they’ve had and any struggles they may have had and find ways to make their success easier when recruiting businesses to the area,” said Lucas.
The two were hired for around $215,000.
They now have six months to meet with schools, community leaders and of course, business leaders, to create a plan to expand Albany business.
“See what plans they have and how they would like to move things forward in Albany,” Lucas said.
While this type of workforce development is new to the community, the EDC decided to bring in outside help based off of the work they’ve done in cities across the state.
“We also work with Georgia Power’s economic development group. We work closely with the Georgia Department of Economic Development, so we’ve got strong relationships that can help strengthen what Albany’s doing, as well,” said Lucas.
They’ll have six months to create a plan and bring it back to the board to implement in the community.
Two years later and Southern Ag is recognized for all its work after the January 2017 storms.
The Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission awarded the Albany-based company the Corporate Community Citizenship Award.
Southern Ag lost it's facility during the storm.
In no less than 48 hours, they were up and running again, getting its products out and keeping its staff employed.
Now the company is dedicated to helping others in the event of any disasters.
“They are a volunteer transporter of peanut butter to disaster locations in times of need. So, they have dedicated themselves both to their own recovery and to the recovery of other areas in their time of need during a disaster,” said Reedi Hawkins, the EDC’s director of marketing.
The group was recognized at an award ceremony the EDC hosted.
The group has also been doing work in the community through Albany Technical College.
There’s a growing demand for certified commercial truck drivers, especially here in the South Georgia.
Southern Ag has to distribute the goods they manufacture, which they can't do without enough truck drivers.
The company donated money and even a semi-truck to Albany Technical College’s CDL program.
The funding and resources has helped the program to grow with the overall goal to enroll more students next semester.
Students who would then be able to fill jobs right here in Albany.
And it’s not too late to sign up for those classes this upcoming semester. You just have to contact Albany Tech to do so.
“We’re really fortunate to be able to have these really contributing corporate citizens such as Southern Ag that recognize the importance of partnership and being able to better our community. Put more great Southwest Georgians to work,” said Hawkins.
Hawkins said they hope to continue facilitating partnerships between companies and businesses here. She said this is one of their latest workforce development initiatives.