Carroll County Receives National Recognition for Work-based Learning Programs

The Center for Apprenticeship and Work-Based Learning in Washington, D.C. recognized Carroll County and other community, business and educational leaders in apprenticeship and work-based learning at a luncheon hosted by Jobs for the Future (JFF), a national non-profit focused on bridging educational and economic opportunity for underserved populations.

The purpose of the event was to celebrate the history and boost the momentum of the expanding movement to support apprenticeship and other forms of work-based learning as mainstream workforce development and talent solutions for American businesses.

Daniel Jackson, President/CEO of the Carroll County Chamber and Carroll Tomorrow, was on hand to accept the recognition on behalf of a cross-sector of business and educational partners throughout Carroll County who are investing resources to empower leadership and engage talent.

“These partners are working with 200 local employers in providing work-based learning opportunities for high school students, placing Carroll County as number one in student participation out of 159 counties in Georgia,” Jackson said. “One of these partners has successfully graduated over 2,000 at-risk students from high school over the last 11 years.”

According to the Center for Apprenticeship and Work-Based Learning’s recognition, “The Carroll County Chamber of Commerce and Carroll Tomorrow is an inspirational example of the local business community coming together with education and other stakeholders to connect students to real-world work experiences—at scale—to strengthen educational outcomes and ensuring a pipeline of educated and skilled workers for their community.”

Jackson pointed out that Carroll County was in good company for the honor. Among the 18 honorees were Amazon, CVS Health, The Hartford, North America’s Building Trades Unions, and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship.

Jackson noted that in 2013, Carroll County was chosen by the Department of Education to be featured in an assessment as part of Harvard University’s Pathways to Prosperity Initiative.  While Harvard provided a very positive summary of workforce and education activity in Carroll County, Carroll Tomorrow leadership knew advances could be made.

A Blue Ribbon Task Force was created comprised of a select and diverse group of business leaders who designed a comprehensive strategic plan. The ultimate goal is to give every Carroll County student the opportunity to discover their natural gifts, skill sets, and interests to identify career pathways that will allow them to successfully pursue individual career goals.

“The vision is to create an environment that ensures every opportunity for a well-trained and highly qualified workforce,” Jackson said. “The activities that have resulted from these collaborations have led to the recognition Carroll County received from JFF.”

The JFF Center for Apprenticeship and Work-Based Learning provides expert guidance on how to identify and share effective approaches that work for companies, students, and workers. The Center also plays an important role in highlighting innovations that expand opportunities for people of color, women, opportunity youth, people with disabilities, and others who have traditionally been underrepresented in career advancement opportunities and well-paying jobs.

According to the Center, there is an unprecedented influx of federal funds and a renewed energy around expanding apprenticeship to new industries, occupations, and communities.  With better access to the right information and support, the Center’s vision is to drive this movement forward, improve people’s lives, strengthen the American workforce, and provide American businesses with the skilled workers they need to grow and prosper.



Daniel Jackson (right), President and CEO of the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce and Carroll Tomorrow, accepts an award recognizing Carroll County’s efforts in work-based learning initiatives from Eric Seleznow, senior advisor at Jobs for the Future, national non-profit that builds educational and economic opportunity for underserved populations.

Northwest Georgia Needs to Ensure There are Enough Qualified Workers

Ensuring there are enough qualified workers may be the most critical job confronting economic developers across Northwest Georgia, according to speakers at a Georgia Power regional economic development summit.

Representatives from 12 counties attended the Monday event hosted by Georgia Northwestern Technical College in Rome.

Peter Cervelli is executive director of the Dade County Industrial Development Authority. He said representatives from prospective industries have questioned him about the availability of workers in the extreme northwest corner of the


Volkswagen in Chattanooga is adding close to a thousand employees, and a new Vanguard trailer plant is slated to open in August with close to 400 jobs.

“They are concerned about where the workforce is coming from,” Cervelli said, referring to unnamed prospects.

“Everybody asks where are the people going to come from,” echoed Andy Camp, vice president for economic development at Carroll Tomorrow in Carroll County.

There are some local initiatives underway.

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Reversing the Trend: Crane Industry Services Working to Fix Shortage of Skilled Laborers

Crane Industry Services is all about finding solutions.

Whether it’s how to teach journeymen the proper way to lift huge loads with advanced rigging techniques or helping to fix the nation’s skilled worker shortage, no task is too big or too small for the company, which has partnered with West Georgia Technical College and offers courses year-round on the college’s Waco campus.

Crane Industry CEO Debbie Dickinson said the company’s Centered on Safety Training Center on the Murphy Campus showcases hands-on, job-specific training for the crane and rigging industry in an aggressive, immersion class setting.

“We’re proud to have brought programs to West Georgia Technical College that didn’t exist before,” Dickinson said. “Our vision is to fix a huge problem in our industry — that we need more people. There are great careers in the industry, but a couple of decades ago, people adopted the mentality that to be successful in life, you have to have a four-year degree from a college. That’s just not true, and it’s led to a problem across the nation.”

A study completed by HomeAdvisors in February 2016 reports 93 percent of contractors believe their businesses would grow over the next six months, if not for hiring challenges. Likewise, 61 percent of skilled laborers believe there is a lack of exposure to the profession for younger generations.

“We’re working to reverse that trend,” Dickinson said, “but it’s not easy work. We think of ourselves as a secret that’s too well-kept, and getting the word out has been one of the greatest challenges we’ve faced in the past six months.”

The training center offers training for students from “all walks of life,” Dickinson said — from experienced journeymen looking for higher levels of certification to young men and women who’ve never set foot on a job site.

“We pride ourselves on taking people who’ve never worked in this kind of industry before and teaching them to use the tools at their disposal,” Dickinson said. “Not just understand what the tools are and how they work, but how to actually use them practically, in a real-world setting.”

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Dual Enrollment Figures on the Rise in Polk County School District

According to an article in The Polk County Standard Journal, testing continues to boost numbers of students taking college-level courses in high school classrooms, and efforts to increase the number of students who are involved in the dual enrollment program have provided progress according to figures released by school officials.

A program to get more students enrolled in classes that will count for both high school and college credit is now showing big gains since a new focus was placed on dual enrollment starting in 2013, when only 10 students were earning credit hours.

Fast forward to 2016, and the enrollment numbers have jumped to 272 students and more than 2,000 credit hours earned by Cedartown and Rockmart high school juniors and seniors in what is now called the Move On When Ready program, the state’s overall dual enrollment program.

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University of West Georgia President named one of the top 100 Most Influential Georgians

According to an article by Taylor Bryant on, for the second consecutive year, University of West Georgia President Dr. Kyle Marrero has been named one of the top 100 Most Influential Georgians in 2016 by Georgia Trend, a magazine of Georgia business, politics, and economic development.

“It is an honor to be named one of the 100 Most Influential Georgians,” Dr. Marrero said. “I believe the University of West Georgia continues to be watched by fellow Georgians as we build collaborative educational and economic partnerships fostering student success, workforce development, innovative academic program delivery, and a commitment to impacting economic development in our region. The success of these core initiatives sets us apart and supports our vision to become the best comprehensive university in America.”

The list of top leaders in the state is compiled by the editorial staff at Georgia Trend and includes a year-round process of selecting individuals who best reflect leadership, power, and influence in Georgia.

Under Dr. Marrero’s leadership, 2015 was a year of prominent achievements. UWG was recognized by USG Chancellor Hank Huckaby with the Chancellor’s Service Excellence Award for Institution and President of the Year. In October 2015, UWG was recognized by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities in its national Excellence and Innovation Awards with the Leadership Development and Diversity Award for Engage West!, an initiative focused on creating a culture of high performance and evidence-based leadership via the implementation of leadership development institutes, a new strategic plan, and core values – all centered on student success.

Since the start of Marrero’s presidency in 2013, UWG has also seen record student enrollment, record fundraising, and increased validation in U.S. News & World Report rankings and regional economic impact.

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Industry and Education Partners open Training Center in Waco, GA

October 19, 2015 — West Georgia Technical College and Crane Industry Services, LLC (CIS) today announced a partnership through the College’s Economic Development Division to provide a new series of Skills Development Training Courses essential to construction, utilities, power generation, manufacturing, mining and refining.

Custom courses and open enrollment options are available at the new Centered on Safety Training Center™ on the WGTC Murphy Campus in Waco, Ga. The partnership between CIS, which provides crane and rigging training nationally and internationally, and WGTC is the result of an initiative to support workforce development needs.

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Carroll County’s Educators Explore Career Pathways in Manufacturing

The Carroll County Chamber of Commerce hosted approximately 80 local educators and officials from the Georgia Departments of Community Affairs and Economic Development for 2015 Manufacturing Day.  The Chamber’s Workforce Education and Development Task Force sponsored the tour of West Georgia Technical College’s Center for Manufacturing Excellence and two local industries, Yachiyo and OFS, allowing educators to explore the quality manufacturing career opportunities for high-skilled, high-paying jobs for Carroll County’s future workforce. Following the tour, teachers had the opportunity to question a panel of industry human resources professionals to further discover how to enlighten students and their parents on various career pathways.

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Teachers from Carroll County Schools and Carrollton City Schools visited West Georgia Technical College’s Center for Manufacturing Excellence as part of the Carroll County Chamber’s Manufacturing Day.

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Don Rhine (left), manager of the Southwire Center for Manufacturing Excellence at West Georgia Technical College, explained several of the programs available to high school graduates who wish to enter careers in local industry.

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Rob Davyduck, plant manager for Yachiyo, provided an overview of the company’s product line to educators from Carrollton City Schools and Carroll County Schools as part of the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce’s Manufacturing Day.


Panelists pictured below included: Theresa Fisher, HR recruiting and community branding manager for Sugarfoods Corporation; Sherry Mozee, assistant HR manager for Yachiyo; Nathan Wright, HR analyst for Southwire Company; Debbie Shurfeld of Elwood Staffing; Haven Morgan of Randstad Work solutions; and Harvey Parker, senior HR manager for OFS Fitel.

Workforce Education – A Vision for Carroll Tomorrow

In 2011, Carroll Tomorrow began its new five year plan, with Workforce Education and Development listed as a primary focus. Over the next few years, with education and industry partners at the table, the Blue Ribbon Task Force was created and developed their plan to create as many opportunities and eliminate as many obstacles as possible so every student will have a greater chance of successfully completing their studies and finding gainful employment.

The key areas are to focus on career development and implementation skills to enable young adults to be high achievers, to motivate our youth to use their interest, knowledge and natural talents and skills to develop a sustainable career path and to work with all partners and stakeholders to create a suitable and effective model for economic development that results in career/job opportunities.

As a result of this initiative, Carroll Tomorrow and their partners in Carroll County created or retained over 4,400 jobs, generated over $90,000,000 in new payroll and created over $686,000,000 in new capital investment since inception of the Workforce Education Task Force. The success of this program reaches the national level as Carroll County was the only Georgia County chosen by the Department of Education to be featured in an assessment as part of Harvard University’s Pathways to Prosperity initiative.

Georgia’s First College & Career Academy

Coweta County is the home to the first college and career academy in Georgia and serves as the model for the state’s program. Central Educational Center, which opened in 2000, is a partnership between the Coweta County School System, West Georgia Technical College and local business and industry.

Drawing students from Coweta County’s three high schools, CEC provides specialized courses to students based on targeted needs in the community, particularly those of Coweta’s businesses and industries. In addition to the advanced high school curriculum, CEC houses a portion of West Georgia Technical College and its college-level courses.

Both high school and adult age students earn valuable certifications in West Georgia Technical College courses. You can be assured that a student graduating from CEC has the skills necessary to become a productive member of the company team.