Lowndes Co. organizations host workforce development symposium

The school says the new program options for students will likely begin in the spring of 2024.
Published: May. 10, 2023 at 5:49 PM EDT
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VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - Several leaders in Georgia came together to help educate people on development across the Peach State on Wednesday. They did this to help the direction the state is going when it comes to the economy and workforce demographics.

Organizations across Lowndes County came together to take a peek into the future of what Georgia’s Peach State workforce could look like.

“These events, like we’re having today on workforce development, are important in any part of Georgia. Because, quite frankly, if you want economic prosperity, then we’re going to have to make sure that our young men and women are prepared for the jobs of the future,” said Chris Clark, CEO and president of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. “It’s probably more critical in rural Georgia where we have lower labor participation rates, but more open jobs.”

Clark says that if 25,000 jobs are created each year, and if 400,000 more employees are employed within the next 10 years, Georgia’s Gross Domestic Product will grow by $189 billion.

“So here’s the good news, I know everybody’s a little scared about a recession and the banking crisis, but we’re not going to see that in Georgia,” Clark said. “165,000 more jobs were created in Georgia in the last four years. 77% of those were in rural communities. A lot of those in Southwest Georgia.”

Attendees were able to learn about the Georgia Artificial Intelligence Manufacturing Technology Coalition. A statewide initiative expanding workforce development awareness, training and job opportunities to underserved communities.

“We’re trying to kick off the GA-AIM grant. So, we wanted to get all of our K-12 and industry partners in the area together to hear both Chris Clark’s presentation and the overall purpose of the grant; but then more specifically what Wiregrass plans to implement. To help partner together and bring more advanced manufacturing jobs to Georgia,” Michael Williams, vice president of economic development at WGTC.

Guest speakers spoke on the purpose of that grant, how it will be implemented, and the resources it will bring.