Spotlight on Northwest Georgia – Communities that Work Partnership
[Brian Cooksey, Shaw Industries Group] Several years ago, our industry identified a need for industrial maintenance technicians. It's one of the biggest job needs that our industry has. We're growing in automation, in the complexity of our equipment. And we're seeing a large number of retirements on the horizon, coming up soon. So we needed to do something to address that. And we couldn't wait until the need was there
100%, so we decided to pull together a committee. We worked with our technical college and our college and career academy high school, to see if we can identify a program that could help address that need for maintenance technicians.
[Louis Fordham, Engineered Floors] Specifically with the floor covering industry, it's the largest employer in the region. Most of the world's, U.S.'s carpet is made here in northwest Georgia. Through our career academy, we have been able to start building programs. They built a couple of programs specifically for the industry, because the curriculum was not coming out of the state.
[Dave Moeller, Northwest Georgia College and Career Academy] The impact of bringing education and industry together is this renewed focus on workforce development at the high school level, grades 9 through 12, and how those students can actually impact workforce development. This led to the creation of the Advanced Manufacturing Business Academy.
[Fordham] These same manufacturers that compete every day in the marketplace came together, realizing that this was really a need that we all had.
[Rod Bradham, Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce] Those conversations are not easy conversations to have. Business speaks one language, education speaks another language. And that's why the Chamber is so important in this, because we can unite those two and help them speak a common language to work towards a common goal.