On July 30, The Athens Area Community Foundation and the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta will host a discussion about college access and affordability at the Oconee County Civic Center in Watkinsville.
Open to the public, the event will take place from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
As reported in The Athens Banner Herald, it includes talks on the state of Georgia’s workforce talent gap, the economic challenges that arise from it, and the possible educational solutions to close this gap.
Hank Huckaby and Carl Swearingen are the keynote speakers at the event.
“We are dedicated to educating the public about this challenge to Georgia’s economic growth, as well as elevating solutions to support the state’s college completion rate,” said Huckaby, a board member of the Athens Area Community Foundation. “With this event, we will convene local leaders and the public to generate thoughtful discussion and inspire action.”
According to a foundation news release, the talent gap or shortage of qualified individuals who can fill open jobs for the state’s employers, is becoming worse.
While companies have come to the state, Georgia’s workforce education and training have not kept up with the demand, officials said.
The foundation also said that projections indicate that by the year 2025 an estimated 60 percent of jobs in the state will require a type of post-secondary education, whether it’s an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree. Currently, only about 47 percent of the workforce meets that standard.
To keep the economic growth of the state going with a prepared workforce, Gov. Nathan Deal started Complete College Georgia in 2011 with the intent of closing the talent gap by raising students’ post-secondary school completion rate, according to the foundation.
This initiative will help meet the goal of 250,000 additional credentialed or degreed employment candidates by the year 2025.
One way to help is by making gap funding available for students with the most financial needs. Each year in Georgia, 15,000 students are dropped from the class rolls in the University System of Georgia (USG) and the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) as a result of unpaid balances that average $1,200.
The event will also feature student stories and local experts to offer solutions to support Georgia’s workforce. For more information or to register, visit www.athensareacf.org.
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