As more jobs come to Georgia, leaders work to prepare the state's youth

The Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education and the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce meet to talk about improving the education and workforce pipeline/Danielle Apolinar (WGXA)

ATLANTA, Ga. -- Complete College Georgia -- a group dedicated to improving college access and graduation rates -- says 60 percent of jobs in Georgia will require higher education in the near future.

And for the fifth year in a row, Georgia is the number one state to do business -- bringing economic development and more jobs.

But what are more jobs if you don't have anyone to fill those positions?

"We're seeing companies having to hire from out-of-state and bringing in more educated people to fill those jobs," said Dana Rickman, Vice President of Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education. "So the communities here tend to get left behind."

Rickman is spreading the message that education can lead to a boost in local economic development.

"Investing in education and public education is an economic development strategy," she said.

Complete College Georgia -- an initiative by Governor Nathan Deal -- shows less than half of Georgians get a degree after high school.

The group is linking up with local chamber of commerce offices to make sure county leaders, business owners and educators know how they can help "Insulate the education-workforce pipeline."

"This is a problem for all communities to come together and talk about it," Rickman said.

Wells Fargo Region President Mike Donnelly says it takes an entire community to boost education.

"It's important we know where the opportunities are and issues are all across the state," he said. "Everyone plays a role in reducing the education gaps."

Rickman say preparing students to get a college degree starts at home.

"Get little kids engaged in reading and language development," she said. "This goes a long way in shortening those gaps."

Rickman also says the K-12 system and colleges should provide opportunities that will get students ready to join the workforce.

"Get kids engaged about potential opportunities for them," she said. "Get them engaged in school and what they're learning. We talk a lot about apprenticeships and dual enrollment so they see relevance in what they're learning."

The event is traveling throughout Georgia.

If you're interested, Middle Georgia State University will host the next event on Monday at 11:30 a.m.


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