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Chamber talks resources, education at annual dinner
Godfrey Gibbison, director of Georgia Southern Universitys School of Economic Development, talks Monday about the economic potential of North Bryan County at the North Bryan Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting. (Tony Judnich)

Abundant natural beauty and easy access to Savannah and Statesboro are valuable resources for North Bryan County, but the educational underachievement of black students is its biggest problem, a Georgia Southern University official said Monday.

Godfrey Gibbison, director of the university’s School of Economic Development, shared these views while serving as the guest speaker at the North Bryan Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting. It took place at the Black Creek Golf Club, where dozens of chamber members and other guests enjoyed dinner and heard Gibbison discuss North Bryan’s economic potential.

“We’re about 18 months into the (nation’s economic) recovery,” Gibbison said. “Do you feel like you’re in a recovery?”

“No,” some audience members replied.

Gibbison said while Georgia’s recovery has been slower than the national one overall, in about two years the state should begin to grow faster than the rest of the country and experience less unemployment. The planned expansion of the Port of Savannah would be a jewel in the revival, he said.

Gibbison also noted that while many Americans are “suffering from a very bad case of frugal fatigue,” or having to scrimp and hoard and save, recent data shows they are starting to use credit more.

And he said the median earnings of workers in Pembroke and Bryan County are quite comparable to the statewide figure, and that people who move to North Bryan County tend to stay there.

“I think one of the most impressive parts of this area is what it looks like,” Gibbison said. “Every time I drive through this county, I think of Orlando, Fla. You have these tremendous natural resources here that could (help make the area) a high-end community to Savannah.”

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