Ogeechee Technical College was recently awarded a $500,000 Word Ready Region grant that will benefit Bryan, Bulloch and Candler counties.
"In October, I worked with economic development professionals in Bryan, Bulloch, and Candler counties to submit a Work Ready Region grant," said Ben Thompson, OTC vice president for Economic Development. "The Work Ready Region concept grew out of the Governor’s Work Ready Initiative, an effort to provide a world-class assessment and training program for Georgia workers. We were fortunate to be named as one of seven recipients of the grant."
Governor Sonny Perdue announced the award winners on Feb. 4.
"The Work Ready Regions initiative is being led by businesses and will link workforce, education and economic development to ensure Georgia’s workforce is our state’s number one competitive advantage," Perdue said in a release. "This effort will drive continued growth and prosperity throughout the state."
Thompson said the Work Ready Region project for Bryan County will focus on the logistics, distribution and warehousing of industry. He said they plan to locate the project near the Port of Savannah and Interstate 16.
"Using this grant to supplement and strengthen our workforce will make our region even more competitive in attracting industry and employers," Thompson said.
As part of a Work Ready Region, Bryan County will receive funding to assist in increasing the skill level of the local workforce. Thompson said the exact amount is unknown, but after a three day seminar in March, the OTC will have more details.
"This project will be education for current employees – and a whole lot more. More importantly, it’ll help create and prepare a ready workforce for companies that are thinking of expanding in, or coming to, our area," Thompson said. "This will also help people who are prospecting for jobs. With the expansion of the Interstate Centre, the chances of helping locate local prospects for those job openings are great. Hopefully we’re all going to benefit from this."
Thompson said the college will work with the local Departments of Labor for both unemployed residents as well as people who want to advance, along with the Chambers of Commerce, Development Authorities, etc. He estimated the work plan should start shortly after the March meeting.
The aim of the grant is to increase the number of individuals in the workforce who have a Work Ready Certificate, encourage local employers to complete Work Ready job profiles and provide specialized training for the existing workforce as well as those who are unemployed or just out of high school.
For more information on the Work Ready initiative, visit the Work Ready Regions web site at www.gaworkready.org or the Ogeechee Technical College site at www.ogeecheetech.edu.