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One Stop training plan for Vogtle is scaled down

A proposal to train hundreds of workers in Thomson for high-paying jobs at Georgia Power Co.'s Plant Vogtle apparently has diminished.

Joyce Blevins, the director of the state-funded job-training program One Stop, had planned to join with The Shaw Group to provide training for hundreds of people applying for jobs at the plant. Site preparation work is under way at the Burke County facility for the construction of two more nuclear reactors -- bringing the total to four reactors.

Although Mrs. Blevins still is attempting to find a larger facility than the one she and her staff occupy in Thomson, the number of people they hoped to train here has been scaled down. She had looked at a site in the newer section of the old Thomson Co. building and most recently at a portion of Thomson Middle School as possible new sites for her facility.

The Shaw Group has plans to train those workers.

Satellite training centers will be setup in the area, including Warrenton, Waynesboro and Augusta, as opposed to all of the training being conducted in Thomson, local officials have learned.

Those officials shared what they had learned with government officials from Thomson, Dearing and McDuffie during a retreat at Savannah Rapids Pavilion in Evans on Friday.

"We started this and now everybody and his brother wants to get in on it," said Riley Stamey, the chairman of the Thomson-McDuffie Industrial Development Authority.

Mr. Stamey said Mrs. Blevins' staff is training 10 students and that they are ready to undergo lab training. The students are being taught at the site of One Stop, near the intersection of Washington and Harrison roads in Thomson.

The staff at One Stop is seeing an average of 1,400 people a month in reference to jobs, said Mr. Stamey.

"We were sold a bill of goods and it hasn't materialized," said McDuffie County Commission Chairman Charlie Newton. "That's really disappointing."

More than 3,500 new jobs are expected to be created at Plant Vogtle. And the people expected to fill many of them will come from 14 to 17 counties in this region of Georgia, Mr. Stamey said.

"We've just got to do the best we can to support One Stop and Joyce," added Mr. Stamey.

Web posted on Thursday, March 11, 2010

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