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Local industries, schools discuss workforce development
workforce development meet
Karisa Young, CEO of the Liberty College & Career Academy, discusses programs at her school that help prepare students to enter the workforce. (Photo provided)

About 30 people responsible for hiring at local industries, educators and representatives of governmental agencies that provide job placement services met Tuesday morning, Oct. 29, to discuss how to improve workforce development in Liberty County.

“As superintendent I want you to know that our board of education supports this partnership, I certainly support it,” Liberty County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Franklin Perry said at the meeting organized by the Liberty County Development Authority at the Coastal Electric Cooperative office in Midway. “We’re going to do everything we can do to make this a model for across the nation.” 

Ron Tolley, CEO of the LCDA, said local industries and the schools have worked together in the past, even developing student internships, but those collaborative efforts have faded. Contacts between the schools and individuals have continued, but communications could improve with more involvement, he said. 

“We want to serve as an entity to help you connect with each other and know the programs that are available,” Tolley said.

Much of the program was a forum in which human resource officers talked about the quality of workers available and what they want in employees. Educators and the agency representatives discussed the programs they offer.

Leading up to the forum Karisa Young, CEO of the Liberty College and Career Academy, gave a presentation about what the academy offers, including programs that mesh with Savannah Technical College’s Liberty County Campus.

 “We are focused on career related courses. We do have dual enrollment offered in our program. But, most importantly, we are a specialized program where we foster partnerships for the advancement of workforce development,” Young said.

She asked the industry representatives to fill out an assessment to see if there is enough interest to develop manufacturing and logistics “pathways” for high school students who attend the classes a half day.

Dr. Brent Stubbs, vice president for economic development at Savannah Technical College, said his school has programs to prepare students for jobs in the area. And he encouraged the industries to discuss adding programs tailored to their needs.

Industries represented were SNF Holding, DS Smith Paper Mill, DS Smith Timber Mill, Hugo Boss, Arconic Engines and Elan Technology. Besides LCDA, the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Department of Labor and Coastal WorkSource were also represented.

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