Ga. commissioner focused on economic challenges, solutions in rural areas

Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 5:49 PM EDT
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TIFTON, Ga. (WALB) - The Georgia Chamber of Commerce is working to help economic development and South Georgia’s workforce.

Pat Wilson, the commissioner for the Georgia Department of Economic Development, said projects of regional significance help communities grow and allow for more development.

Wilson said these types of projects are what large companies look for in a rural community. Taurus, a firearm company in Bainbridge, is one example Wilson gave. He said the community is embracing the company and is seeing its economy grow from it.

“It’s a community that is now seeing economic development take off. If you go to downtown Bainbridge, you’ve got the American restaurant right there, a brewery activity all around the square, renovating an old hotel, that’s what one company deciding to locate to a rural community can mean,” said Wilson.

Wilson said one of the biggest challenges we face right now is the workforce. He said Georgia has been a high migration state. The pandemic slowed this migration down and now they are working on strategies to attract workers.

The high unemployment rate in rural Georgia, Wilson said should get people’s attention, but there’s another challenge.

“Affordable housing for workers that are moving in. I talk to communities that are experiencing job growth. You have to be focused on making sure that those workers can live in your communities,” explained Wilson.

Wilson said there are some things to worry about, however, he said that right now, Georgia is experiencing one of the most prosperous times in the state’s history.

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