Writer: Roger Nielsen
Two regional healthcare coalitions are partnering with the Carl Vinson Institute of Government to enhance career opportunities in rural south 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. The Southern Georgia Healthcare Sector Partnership is developing a similar collaboration to explore ways to build a stronger talent pipeline for healthcare careers in 18 additional counties.
WorkSource Southwest Georgia and WorkSource Southern Georgia are working with steering committees comprised of education and healthcare leaders to establish the partnership. The projects will provide 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 partnerships bring together representatives from dozens of organizations to evaluate healthcare career needs and implement action plans 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.
The Institute of Government is providing facilitation services and technical assistance in support of the regional efforts to establish effective healthcare sector partnerships in south Georgia. The projects also serves as a model for organizing other high-demand career sector partnerships in south 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. WorkSource Southern Georgia serves Atkinson, Bacon, Ben Hill, Berrien, Brantley, Brooks, Charlton, Clinch, Coffee, Cook, Echols, Irwin, Lanier, Lowndes, Pierce, Tift, Turner and Ware counties.