February 13, 2017 | Spotlight

Institute helps Georgia regions establish workforce development partnerships

The Institute of Government and the Georgia Department of Economic Development are collaborating to help Georgia regions establish effective workforce development partnerships to address critical talent and training needs.

Writer: Roger Nielsen

Organizers in 12 Georgia regions are weighing funding options to establish workforce development partnerships outlined in a series of educational sessions arranged and facilitated by the Carl Vinson Institute of Government.

Institute faculty and staff teamed with workforce specialists with the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) to share information about establishing sector partnerships with critical industries or industry clusters. Sector partnerships align key employers, workforce development experts, educators and economic developers to help meet the talent needs of key Georgia industries.

The sessions also prepared sector partners to successfully seek funding administered by the GDEcD’s Workforce Division through the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). Workforce regions have until March to apply for up to $250,000 in funding.

“The workshops provided regional leaders with technical assistance to orient them to the WIOA grants. We also led an exercise to kick-start the planning and application process,” said Greg Wilson, a workforce development specialist with the Institute.

David Tanner, the Institute’s associate director for state services, worked with Wilson and Workforce Development Analyst Mercy Montgomery to plan and execute the training sessions. In addition, Institute faculty and staff wrote a sector partnership guidebook that was distributed at the meetings.

Regional workshops were held over a six-week period in Augusta, LaGrange, Valdosta, Thomasville, Columbus, Dalton, Athens, Gainesville, Savannah, Macon, Dublin, and metro Atlanta.

The program developed from the Institute’s long collaboration with GDEcD to support the Governor's High Demand Career Initiative (HDCI). During HDCI’s first two years, the Institute worked with GDEcD and others to gather information about present and future workforce needs from private sector leaders at 17 public meetings and through an online assessment, then developed the sector partnership training program.