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Bulloch gets grant to boost work force

            Bulloch County was awarded a $35,000 state grant to assist in earning a designation as a Certified Work Ready Community at an accelerated rate.

            To earn such a designation, counties have to demonstrate a commitment to improving high school graduation rates, show a specified number of graduates are entering the work force and encourage current workers and the unemployed to obtain a Work Ready Certificate. Earning the title shows a county has a talented work force to meet the demands of businesses and the educational infrastructure to drive economic growth and prosperity.

            Bulloch County was one of 24 counties in the state to receive the grant. They will serve as a model for the initiative by showcasing successes and the best practices for other communities to follow.

            "These accelerated counties are leading the way to creating a competitive advantage for our state," said Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue. "by jump starting the process, they can drive momentum and participation in the Work Ready initiative throughout the state."

            As an accelerated county, Bulloch County has 18 months to complete the process. In addition to the 24 accelerated counties, another 49 counties have made the commitment to earn the designation within three years.

            "Earning Certified Work Ready Community Status will ensure our citizens have the talent necessary to staff existing jobs and to master the innovative technologies new jobs will require tomorrow," said Dr. Ben Thompson, Bulloch County's Work Ready team leader and also vice president for economic development with Ogeechee Technical College. "We will help transform our economy and give our community a competitive advantage in attracting new business and jobs."

            Georgia's Work Ready initiative is made up of a skills assessment and certification for job seekers and a job profiling system for businesses. The idea is that by identifying both the needs of a business and the available skills of the work force, the state can more effectively generate the right talent  for the right jobs.

            The county's efforts are being led by a team that includes Ogeechee Technical College, the Bulloch County Commission, Statesboro City Council, Statesboro-Bulloch Chamber of Commerce, Bulloch County Board of Education, Coastal Workforce Investment Board, Georgia Department of Community Affairs and the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

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