Economic Development at CGTC Continues to Meet Industry Demands for Training

Staff Report From Middle Georgia CEO

Thursday, November 9th, 2017

As workforce training becomes a higher priority for companies growing in the central Georgia region, the Economic Development Division of Central Georgia Technical College accounted for 46 percent of the customized contract training hours delivered in the state.

The Division delivered customized training for more than 330 companies in the Fiscal Year 2017, approximately 1,319,499 hours out of 2,848,638 total hours of training delivered by the 22 colleges in the Technical College System of Georgia.

“A lot of the success we have can be attributed to great leadership at the College and the mindset that anything is possible,” said vice president for Economic Development, Andrea Griner. “I always like to share with companies that we are agile, in terms of supporting a request, we will always do what we can to provide expertise and meet the specific training needs for a company. It is really driven by that can-do attitude you see in all areas of our college.”

Griner added that the can-do mentality was visible during recent projects.
 
“We’ve even sent instructors out of the state to deliver training when needed,” she said, adding that sometimes companies reach out to her unaware that the Division is willing to go anywhere to train.
 
The Economic Development Division primarily supports regional business. Customized training aligns with company needs from soft-skills to the more hands-on and technical approaches.
 
Griner said that the Division also plays a role in industrial recruitment and expansion, supporting projects led by local development authorities.  Industrial recruitment is the process communities go through when vying for and convincing new companies to locate in their communities.
 
“Companies are looking broadly at many different factors. Providing a skilled workforce and development of their employees through ongoing training is our focus,” Griner said. “We are bound only by the commitment to meet the needs of the businesses in our region.”
 
Recently, the Economic Development Division played a role in the location of Irving Consumer Products to Macon-Bibb County.
 
In the recruitment process there were multiple phases; at one point toward the end, the Division allowed the company to assess CGTC student aptitude in areas of need for their future multi-million-dollar tissue paper production plant, providing a, “pulse on the workforce available in the region,” Griner said.

Ultimately, the company selected Macon-Bibb as the location for the $400 million state-of-the-art manufacturing plant, which is to employ roughly 200 employees.

 “It was a massive announcement,” Griner said. “What our College did during the final phase of the process is really something we have never seen before. Throughout the recruitment process we were able prove that the central Georgia region has the workforce and training programs they needed to be successful.  That really made our region attractive.”

CGTC’s involvement in the project was in conjunction with TCSG’s Georgia Quick Start program, the No.1 workforce-training program in the U.S., according to a recent survey conducted by Area Development Magazine, a trade publication for professional site locators.

Georgia Quick Start offers no-cost training to qualified companies creating and retaining jobs in Georgia. Together with the Economic Development Division, they will support initial training for new hires of Irving Consumer Products. Quick Start is also involved in numerous other projects in the region, including the $59 million expansion at Tyson Foods, a project that will bring 100 new jobs to the region. 

Included in the total training hours provided by the Economic Development Division are those delivered for On-the-Job Training for incarcerated citizens in correctional facilities statewide. Dr. Brittany Lucas, the executive director for the Office of Re-Entry Services at CGTC, and her team, oversee contracts and training with the Georgia Department of Corrections.  The Economic Development Division and Office of Re-Entry Services have recently expanded involvement with the GDC, offering forklift training to eligible inmates at both men’s and women’s facilities. With training, formerly incarcerated citizens leave prisons with certificates to prepare them for re-entry and opportunities for meaningful employment.

Supported by what she calls, a “phenomenal team,” Griner is proud of the accomplishments of the Economic Development Division.  Some notable companies and organizations the Division has recently provided training for include, Aspen Products, Blue Bird, Frito Lay, Graphic Packaging International, Hollingsworth & Vose, Houston Healthcare, KaMin, the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex, the Air Force Reserve Command, Purdue Farms and Triumph Aerostructures. Each have benefitted from Central Georgia Technical College’s commitment to meeting industry workforce demands.

For more information regarding the work of the Economic Development Division, contact Andrea Griner at agriner@centralgatech.edu.