Posted on

continued from page that helps ….

continued from page

that helps guide students on their paths. It does not rigidly determine their futures but helps them in their vision for the future.”

The launch event afforded an opportunity to share additional good news in the workforce development arena, including efforts that are underway but are being managed and driven by alternate groups.

Debbie Evans, Vice President, Greater Vidalia Chmaber, shared information regarding the Chamber’s upcoming Business Solutions Summit event on September 23. Dee Ann Turner of Dee Ann Turner & Associates, LLC, and a 33-year veteran of Chickfil- A, Inc., will be the featured speaker. Every ticket includes a copy of Turner’s book, Bet on Talent.

Superintendent Waller explained that the local school systems have been actively working to prepare students for the workforce as much as they prepare students for college. “We have figured out how to get kids to college, but we are working on learning how to best prepare them for the workforce,” Waller explained.

He shared that the Toombs County Schools held a workforce development camp over the summer. The 17 students who participated in the camp were able to tour industries and get hands-on experience in various workforce settings and careers. This experience even led two students to decide on their future careers. The school system is also performing due diligence to establish a Heavy Equipment Operations pathway.

SECCA Board Chairman Don Betts spoke about the “Make It, Move It” program that allows students to meet representatives from a variety of companies, trades, and careers, and to actually get up-close looks at some area businesses through site visits.

The “Make It, Move It” pilot program got underway in August with 21 students. “This is just another tool we use to provide opportunities to our students,” Betts noted.

The current deficit in a regional workforce has reinforced the need to groom, recruit and train employees, starting with middle and high school students. “Strengthening our local workforce is going to require innovation—doing some things differently,” STC’s Vice President of Student Affairs Barry Dotson told attendees. “We are strengthening our relationship with our local boards of education.” Underlining the need for local workforce strategy, Dotson pointed to the employment dilemma created by COVID. “In January of 2020, who could have predicted in just three months that we would face a pandemic and workforce development situations we have never previously encountered?” Dotson noted that at the last meeting of the Steering Committee, area workforce deficits were at the top of the urgent needs list.

“Many local businesses have been unable to assume normal operations due to the lack of sufficient workforces,” Dotson explained. “It became obvious that our immediate priority was to help local businesses gain sufficient workforces.” Authority Executive Director and Chamber President Michele Johnson summarized the intent of the strategy. “I think above all, the one thing we want to do is to convey that all work is honorable,” she said. “There is value to every person and every job for our community.” If anyone is interested in aiding this workforce development strategy financially or through volunteer support, they can contact Johnson or Ann Owens at 912-537-4466.

Recent Death Notices