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Powering the New Workforce in Georgia

"We’re excited to keep growing our partnership efforts with the Technical College System of Georgia, and to see this trend continue. When we fill great jobs with a highly trained, skilled workforce, everybody wins."

- Anne Kaiser, VP, Georgia Power Community & Economic Development

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Workforce development is the number one driver for expanding and new industries, making the work of the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) a key component of the state's continued successes. Some of the finest technical schools in the country call Georgia home. The programs in the TCSG are crucial to the success of companies who are considering growing or expanding here. "There are people in Georgia who are looking for jobs, and there are jobs with great companies that need to be filled," says Anne Kaiser, VP of Georgia Power's Community & Economic Development Group. "Technical school is no longer considered a second choice education." Anne is currently Chair of the Board at TCSG, a partnership that continues to strengthen the pipeline of talent in the state.

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The Technical College System is closing the gap between job-seekers and companies by matching opportunities with people- a mission that mirrors that of Georgia Power's. The landscape of the workforce, and of available jobs is changing in Georgia, making it imperative to keep up with the demand and adapt to the needs of citizens and companies. "The whole technical college system has been repositioned and rebranded, aligning their 22 colleges with the goals of modern businesses in innovative professions," Anne explains. "The programs offered by the TCSG provide training for a broad range of careers and in emerging industries like Cyber, film production, advanced manufacturing, and aviation. Industries that are considered high demand by the state government, such as manufacturing rely on the TCSG to supply a skilled workforce."

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Pam Carnes is the President and CEO of the Cherokee County Chamber, and has been on the Board of Chattahoochee Tech since 2007. Pam notes that the most significant change she's seen in her years of service is the opportunity for high school students to get a jump start. Students can pursue a career in any of the high-demand fields through tuition-free training and education thanks to Georgia’s HOPE Career Grant. Preparation for the workforce can also begin as early as high school through Georgia’s dual enrollment programs. Through this program, students can go take college courses for free, earning both high school and college credits. "This is not our parents' vocational tech program. Today's technical school system has a workforce component and can offer extensive employment opportunities." Also important to note is the advantage of high school students easing the transition into college through dual enrollment. "Lots of students think they're ready to jump right into it. But through dual enrollment, they're able to experience college for the first time in a way that's similar to their high school experience- smaller classrooms and one-on-one interaction with their teachers."

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Chattahoochee Technical College has eight campuses in six Georgia counties. "Knowing the extent of the courses offered both on-campus and online- that flexibility, low cost, and workforce training is what we've always been known for, but now it's a more viable option instead of a second choice," Pam says. "The mindset of parents that their kids must attend a traditional, 4-year university is changing. Technical school is college, for a lower cost, and many times with a direct path to a high-demand and well-paying career." Chattahoochee's Board is able to see the programs that are growing, and the ones that need to be started to meet the needs of a diverse workforce, and a diverse student body. The programs they offer include everything from videography, interior design, HVAC, and graphic design. "It's exciting to know that this wide variety of options can open doors for so many people, and lead to them doing something they love for their career," Pam says.

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TCSG colleges are ranked among the top best two-year colleges in the country because of affordable tuition costs, graduation rates, and student-faculty ratios. The 22 colleges have 85 locations across the state as well as online classes, creating a renewable pipeline of talent for new and growing Georgia businesses. "In the past, companies did the training. In today’s business world, more and more industries are using customized training programs through local technical colleges to staff their facilities," says Anne Kaiser. "The careers that start in technical colleges are high-paying, long-term roles that lead to management opportunities. This kind of culture shift will impact communities in a positive way for generations to come."

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Graduates are coming out these modern TCSG programs with an incredible 99% success rate for job placement. The technical colleges around the state are developing relationships with their local companies, and they’re steadily growing together. The opportunities are limitless- from local expansions to global projects, the desire to support the state and industry are powered by a shared ‘can-do’ mentality. This shift toward workforce development through in-demand training programs isn’t going anywhere. "We’re excited to keep growing our partnership efforts with the Technical College System of Georgia, and to see this trend continue. When we fill great jobs with a highly trained, skilled workforce, everybody wins," says Anne Kaiser.