Having a skilled workforce is one of the top goals of various leaders in McDuffie County. And because it is, local officials received an incentive to forge ahead with getting their certification as a "Work Ready Community" last week when Gov. Sonny Perdue announced that the county will be receiving a $35,000 grant to help bolster them to that level.
Forward McDuffie Director Mike Carrington couldn't be more pleased.
"This grant will really help us in getting where we want to be - having a certified Work Ready Program," Mr. Carrington said. "Such a status would give us a leg up and show our commitment as community leaders, government leaders and those in the private sector that by working together we can have the kind of skilled workforce that everyone can be proud of in McDuffie County."
The status is not only good for McDuffie County, but for Georgia, too, Mr. Carrington said.
"This helps our local industries, as well as private business," he said during an interview with The McDuffie Mirror on Monday. "It's the kind of program where everyone benefits."
Since March, Gov. Perdue has presented 16 Road to Readiness Awards to counties which have exceeded expectations and "beat their individual goals for citizens" earning Work Ready certificates, while pursuing certified community status. Among them is Warren County.
In a press release, Gov. Perdue said, "In less than two years, Work Ready has helped transform our state and make our workforce our number one competitive advantage. This initiative is creating new opportunities for Georgia workers and ensuring our state's employers have a stable, talented workforce to help them succeed."
McDuffie County is among 33 other counties in the state seeking such in-progress status.
In order for a county to be designated to the status of a certified Work Ready Community, Mr. Carrington explained that local officials in various positions of the community have to want both current workers and future ones to strive for Work Ready certificates.
In order to gain certification status, a community must create a team of economic development, government and education partners to create programs that meet certification criteria.
"The Work Ready Program helps communities rally around a clear strategy for developing the kind of workforce companies look for when they choose where to locate their next project," Gov. Perdue said in the release. "The long-term benefits Work Ready will deliver to our state will pay dividends for years to come."
Mr. Carrington says the Work Ready Program "pulls all sectors together to have a better tailored workforce. This is definitely a program that we are fully committed to in McDuffie County."