Pike County has been awarded a $35,000 state grant to faster earn Certified Work Ready Community status, according to a press release from the Pike County Chamber of Commerce.
In order to be designated a Certified Work Ready Community, counties must demonstrate a commitment to improving public high school graduation rates, show a specified percentage of graduates that are entering the workforce and drive current workers and the unemployed to obtain a Work Ready Certificate.
The certificate aims to close the gap between skill requirements in today’s workplace the potential employees’ lack thereof. A worker who has obtained the certificate has also received the skills and training necessary to succeed in the workplace. Through that, employers are able to cut training cost and reduce turnover, according to www.gaworkready.org.
Companies that use the Work Ready Certificate program to assess their current and incoming workforce benefit in various ways, such as increased productivity, higher employee moral, reduced overtime and improved advancement procedures.
Pike’s efforts in being designated the status are lead by a team of the chamber of commerce, the development authority, the board of education, the board of commissioners, the city of Zebulon, the department of community affairs, Griffin Technical College, Flint River Technical College as well as the First Bank of Pike, Tencate, Georgia Power Company and United Bank.
“Earning Certified Work Ready Community status will ensure (that) our citizens have the talent necessary to staff existing jobs and to master the technologies new jobs will require tomorrow,” said Chamber of Commerce President John Hanson in the release. “We will help transform our economy and give our community a competitive advantage in attracting new business and jobs.”
Gov. Sonny Perdue has awarded 24 counties with grants to assist in the Certified Work Ready Communities process. These counties are expected to serve as model for showcasing success and best practices and thus other communities to follow. Each county has pledged to complete the process within 18 months as part of the eligibility requirements.
“These accelerated counties are leading the way to creating a competitive advantage for our state,” said Perdue in the release. “By jump-starting the process, they can drive momentum and participation in the Work Ready initiative throughout the state.”
Forty-nine other counties in Georgia have made a commitment to becoming Certified Work Ready Communities and will have three years to reach these goals necessary to earn designation.
“Through the Work Ready Community certification, these counties will collectively help 1,600 Georgia youth successfully earn a high school diploma and more than 94,000 Georgians earn a Work Ready Certificate,” said Perdue.