The Union Recorder

May 16, 2013

Summit highlights workforce related issues within region

Vaishali Patel
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — The Middle Georgia Economic Alliance (MGEA) is hosting a workforce summit in Milledgeville next week to address the new realities facing the workforce development issues in the central Georgia area.

“The Middle Georgia Economic Alliance was formed to help cultivate, promote and enhance economic development activity within the initiative’s 11 counties,” said April Bragg, CEO of the Milledgeville-Baldwin County Chamber of Commerce. “I feel like we’re all better together, and we all share the same workforce, quality of life and transportation; we’re all pulling from the same pool.”

The summit is slated for 8:45 a.m. Wednesday in the Magnolia Ballroom on the Georgia College campus. Registration and networking will begin at 8:15 a.m. with continental breakfast sponsored by Tri-County EMC. Opening remarks will be given by a representative of the Medical Center of Central Georgia before Georgia College President Dr. Steve Dorman welcomes those in attendance to the local university. Several break-out sessions will be conducted by leaders from the middle Georgia area before the summit concludes around 12:30 p.m.

“Registration is free and it includes continental breakfast, conference materials and admission to keynote addresses and break-out sessions,” Bragg said. “Right now we have 85 people registered and we’re anticipating about 100 to 150 total.”

Event speakers include Georgia Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Chris Clark, Georgia Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Mike Beatty and Elarbee, Thompson, Sapp & Wilson, LLP Managing Partner Stanford Wilson.

“[Beatty] will talk about the Great Promise Partnership, which is a program that puts at-risk high school students at work with small businesses and organizations around town. There’s a training and mentoring soft skill component to the program and it identifies students that may not graduate otherwise or become quality employees, but [they] could be later on,” Bragg explained. “[Wilson] is an attorney and he will talk more about new labor laws, the legal issues surrounding Obamacare and topics that are on the minds of human resources [personnel].”

MGEA includes Baldwin, Bibb, Crawford, Houston, Jones, Monroe, Peach, Pulaski, Putnam, Twiggs and Wilkinson counties. The initiative provides benefits to the region with location, low cost of doing business, an abundant labor supply, training programs and proximity to the port of Savannah and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

“This is a do-not-miss forum for community leaders, chamber representatives, industry representatives, plant managers, HR professionals, local government officials, employers, educators, nonprofits and workforce board members. It’s for anybody who offers benefits for employees. They need to find out issues going on in the workforce; they need a seat at the table,” Bragg said. “We’re excited [MGEA] is coming to Milledgeville. It goes to show the engagement level in our businesses and in our community is rising; that’s always a good sign.”

For more information about the meeting or to register call 478-453-9311 or visit www.milledgevillega.com.

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