Work Ready gearing up again

Published 7:52 pm Friday, May 6, 2011

CHAMBER OF COMMERCE breakfast speakers and anchored by Chamber representatives. From the left, are Chamber Chairman Ryan Phillips, Marjorie Mayfield and Ann Wells, both with the county Work Ready Initiative, and Chamber President Diane Strickland.

Decatur County’s Work Ready Initiative is gearing up for a second wind the local team explained to those attending the monthly Bainbridge-Decatur County Chamber of Commerce breakfast Thursday.

Marjorie Mayfield, the team leader of the county Work Ready committee, said Decatur County became a certified Work Ready Community last September. The county is now in the process of being recertified, and along with that, received a $10,000 grant to help enhance that process.

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The Georgia Work Ready Initiative is a state program designed to build a better workforce. Among some of the elements of the program are improving the hiring process, matching the right individuals to the right jobs and ensuring that employees have the best training.

One critical element of the recertification process is to maintain the high school graduation rate at 75 percent or above.

Mayfield said a portion of the grant money will be used to provide a tutor-teacher to offer a class twice a year for the next two years to work with students who have failed a portion of the high school graduation test.

“It’s very important that we maintain that graduation rate,” Mayfield told those gathered for the breakfast held at The Charter House Inn.

Another portion is to offer an ACT/Prep seminar to local high school students.

A large part of a community becoming Work Ready certified and recertified is to complete an assessment test.

Ann Wells, the director of Continuing Education at Bainbridge College, said five to six people a day take the test, with about one-third re-taking the test to improve their scores.

The committee wants to reward those who take the test, receive additional training (called gap training), then retake the test.

Mayfield said college students who scored a platinum on the test would receive a scholarship.

Students who received a GED and take the assessment, and GED graduates who take the gap training and improve their scores will receive gas cards. Finally, the committee wants to offer gas cards to high school students who take the gap training and improve their scores.

The committee also wants to reward businesses that embrace the Georgia Work Ready initiative.

Mayfield said the committee would like to have 15 small businesses sign up and be recognized as preferred work ready businesses. The first 12 businesses would have available to them human resources consultation.

The committee would also offer a lunch and learn workshop to local businesses on “What Can Profiling do for Your Business,” which would be open to all businesses.

River Town Days

Bainbridge-Decatur County Chamber of Commerce President Diane Strickland said the annual festival should be the best one yet.

She said the festival has four grand sponsors—Aaron Rents, DaniMer Scientific, Decatur County and the Bainbridge Convention and Visitors Bureau—and 64 other sponsors for the event.