Local employers urged to participate in survey

GRADY COUNTY JOINT DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY executive director, Julian Brown, reviews a regional employer needs assessment that is being implemented in a five-county area of southwest Georgia to make plans for the next decade.

The Grady County Joint Development Authority, in conjunction with the regional authority, of which Grady is a member, are in the process of aggressively surveying the regional business community to assess the needs of businesses and industry for the upcoming five to 10 years.

Grady County Joint Development Authority executive director, Julian Brown, says he is working along with representatives of the Multi County J.D.A. which is comprised by Grady, Brooks, Mitchell, Colquitt and Thomas counties, to promote the 96-question survey. According to Brown, the survey has been sent to nearly 20 employers in Grady County.
In addition to the Grady J.D.A., Brown has solicited the Cairo-Grady County Chamber of Commerce and the Cairo High School Career Academy to promote participation in the survey.
The survey became available June 1 and there is a two-week window in which to complete the in-depth survey. Funding for the project is coming from a $60,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce and $15,000 from the Multi County J.D.A., according to Brown.
The Multi County J.D.A. has secured the services of Russ Moore of Seamless Education Associates to implement the project, which will begin with a business and industry assessment survey process. Following the survey period, Moore will work with the Multi County J.D.A. and partners to determine next steps for using the findings to address workforce pipeline programming to meet industry needs.
Survey links have been shared with local employers and Brown said he hopes that local participation will be strong.
Each business, from 1- 2 person teams up to those over 1,000 employees, is encouraged to complete the survey.  The survey tool is designed to assist the individual business in considering the workforce needed in their current settings, looking at both soft and hard skills, as well as the workforce needed in future years. As the workforce population of a business retires, it is important for a pipeline of trained workers be readily available and desiring of the job positions, particularly as industries evolve to ones requiring more robotic and science related skills. For a community to be successful, business and industry must be successful, which requires a trained workforce.
As businesses receive the assessment tool, they are encouraged to read through the guidelines and give consideration to the needs of the business for stability and future growth.
In the coming months as data is gathered and analyzed, the J.D.A. team members will work with local educational institutions such as Southern Regional Technical College, Wiregrass Georgia Technical College, Thomas University, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, and the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, which all provide post-secondary college programs to the communities, to review the programming offered by the institutions in relation to the collected data. Additionally, the team will work with local career, technical and agricultural education programs in the middle and high school grades for each of the participating counties, as workforce training begins in the middle school years of a child’s education journey.
Brown encourages anyone with questions to contact him by calling (229) 516-0752 or emailing him at gradyjda@gmail.com.

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