Writer: Roger Nielsen
A regional healthcare coalition is partnering with the Carl Vinson Institute of Government to develop a strategy that enhances career opportunities in rural southwest Georgia.
The Southwest Georgia Healthcare Sector Partnership unites employers, educators and government leaders to better integrate job training, recruitment and retention efforts in a 14-county region serving Albany and the largely rural communities nearby.
WorkSource Southwest Georgia and a steering committee comprised of education and healthcare leaders are developing the partnership. It provides an avenue for the healthcare industry, area colleges and universities, public schools and government and community leaders to coordinate job skill and training needs in the region. Healthcare careers account for eight of the 15 fastest-growing occupations in southwest Georgia, according to the Georgia Department of Labor.
The partnership brings together representatives from nearly two dozen organizations to evaluate healthcare career needs and implement an action plan to better align skill training with job demand. In addition to recruitment and retention, the “sector partnership” coalition identified soft skills training and educational technology as priorities, according to Gabriel Lord with Phoebe Putney Health Care System of Albany.
“There’s a trend of fewer people going into healthcare occupations. We identified the training and recruitment priorities, and now we’re going to sit down and figure out how we’re going to put it into action,” Lord said.
Sector partners in addition to the Phoebe Putney Health System include Albany Area Primary Healthcare, Colquitt Regional Medical Center, Miller County Hospital, Primary Care of Southwest Georgia, Albany State University, Albany Technical College, Southern Regional Technical College, the Southwest Georgia Area Health Education Center and Grady County Schools.
The Institute of Government is providing facilitation services and technical assistance in support of WorkSource Southwest Georgia’s effort to establish an effective healthcare sector partnership in the region. The project also serves as a model for organizing other high-demand career sector partnerships in southwest Georgia, according to Institute faculty member Greg Wilson.
“We’re working to build capacity for WorkSource Southwest Georgia,” Wilson said. “They are interested in developing manufacturing and transportation sector partnerships in the future.”
WorkSource Southwest Georgia provides workforce services in Baker, Calhoun, Colquitt, Decatur, Dougherty, Early, Grady, Lee, Miller, Mitchell, Seminole, Terrell, Thomas and Worth counties. The organization that serves the neighboring region, WorkSource Southern Georgia, hired the Institute of Government to develop a sector partnership implementation team in 18 southeastern and south-central Georgia counties.