Workforce Development Initiative Leverages Local Education Resources

Staff Report From Valdosta CEO

Friday, November 15th, 2013

The Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce and Industrial Authority’s Community Business and Industry Partnership (CB&IP) hosted the second workforce development initiative seminar Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013 at the Valdosta Drury Inn & Suites to talk about the intersection of education and economic development.

The Industrial Authority’s Business Retention and Expansion Program proactively engage and build meaningful relationships with Valdosta and Lowndes County’s existing industries. Throughout 2012 and 2013 existing industries located in Valdosta and Lowndes County expressed opportunities for growth, were centered on workforce issues: finding job-ready new hires; helping proven employees advance and developing middle managers. 

“Our community’s prosperity is built around education. The intense competition in today’s global marketplace demands a world-class education for every citizen,” said Mark Wilson, Director Human Resources at Langdale Industries, Inc. 

The Initiative kicked off in August allowing Valdosta-Lowndes County’s largest employers and most visible existing industries to communicate key challenges related to basic knowledge, critical skills and work ethic encountered in recruiting and retaining a qualified workforce to early and higher education administrators. On Thursday each administrator presented existing certificate programs and new training initiatives for industries based in manufacturing, distribution and logistics.

The stakes are high for our region and Valdosta-Lowndes County’s future workforce. According to the University System of Georgia, Georgia’s Higher Education Completion Plan in less than 10 years 60 percent of jobs in Georgia will require some form of a college education, whether a certificate, associate degree or bachelor’s degree. At present just 42 percent of Georgians have that level of training or education.

“With the Community Industry & Business Partnership Workforce Development Initiative we are building a world-class workforce with the skills that employers demand,” said Dr. McKinney, President Valdosta State University. “Valdosta State University is proud to be a partner in this effort as we continue to strive to be the university in Georgia that educates its students equally well for the world of work and the responsibilities of citizenship,"