State leaders visit Albany State to discuss ways to improve economic growth

ASU's impact on the region’s economy continues to provide a grave source of jobs and revenue impacts on Albany, Dougherty Co. and southwest region.
Published: Sep. 21, 2023 at 5:48 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Southwest Georgia is bringing in help from higher up to improve the economy in our region.

Lieutenant Governor Burt Jones and Senate President Pro Tem John F. Kennedy came to both listen and advise local leaders on what they can do to improve Southwest Georgia’s economy.

“We’re lagging quite a bit,” Senator Freddie Powell Sims said. “And we know that it’s our time. These gentleman are here to listen to our concerns and also to guide us through the process. What do we need to do? Is it customer service? Is it workforce development? Is it healthcare? Is it education? All of these entities are needed in order to have economic expansion.”

Jones and Kennedy will also venture into other parts of Southwest Georgia today to see what can be developed.

“They’re going to visit Albany State University,” Senator Sims said. “We’re going to do a tour. We’re also going to go over to the hospital. Phoebe Putney Memorial Healthcare System. And we’re also going to go to Shellman, Georgia to visit with our ag base there.”

“All the benefits ought not to go to Atlanta, should they?,” Senate President Pro Tem John F. Kennedy said. “We need to remove the rest of the state. We need to remember our entire state. That’s a part of what we’re here for today.”

Having a college like ASU contributes to the number of qualified graduates that could become workers in the region. ASU is looking to expand programs, like nursing and aerospace engineering... to encourage students to stay in Albany.

“Good things were said today,” ASU student, Mouhamed Gueye, said. “They honestly like the way that we’re moving as an institution and so now it’s our time as a student body to just continue growing and just continue elevating and making our institution look good.”

“Albany State is a big partner with the community and with Southwest Georgia,” Michael Montgomery, who is the Associate Vice President of Marketing and Communications at ASU, said. “A lot of people don’t realize it, but we contribute two hundred and sixty million dollars to the Southwest region along with graduating probably more students than any other college in the region.”