Ferguson, Brass speak on education, internet and workforce development

Published 8:12 pm Wednesday, August 30, 2017


The Three Rivers Regional Commission (TRRC) met on Aug. 24 for its regularly scheduled meeting, and the main items discussed were related to broadband, education, and workforce development topics.

The TRRC has partnered with the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce to launch its new regional manufacturing initiative, Three Rivers Works, in September. Three Rivers Works will be a regional effort to identify, build and maintain a worker talent pool to support the manufacturing industry within the TRRC’s 10-county region.

Page Estes, President of the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce, will be reaching out to business, community, and governmental leaders in the near future, and a webinar is scheduled for Sept. 20 to officially start the Three Rivers Works project. County-level meetings and employer surveys will begin in October, and run through the holiday season.

Congressman Drew Ferguson, third Congressional District, also spoke to the Three Rivers Council as part of the meeting. Ferguson spoke about the need to create more workforce development opportunities to meet the needs of employers within the 10-county region, and about the relationship between education and workforce partnerships that make the whole process successful.

State Sen. Matt Brass, District 28, also attended the meeting, and stated that workforce development was a priority for legislators throughout the 10-county region.

Congressman Ferguson spent the remainder of his time discussing the importance of broadband availability, and how this availability relates to economic competitiveness and educational training opportunities.

“The availability and quality of a good broadband connection is the REA, Rural Electrification Act, of our time,” Ferguson said.

The Rural Electrification Act was passed in 1936, which created a pathway to bring electricity to all households across the nation.

“Good broadband is critical to professionals who work remotely, for companies to be able to locate and remain in rural communities, and for education and job training activities,” said Robert Hiett.

Hiett currently serves as the Interim Executive Director of the Three Rivers Regional Commission.

State Sen. Matt Brass said that rural broadband was an issue being looked at by the Georgia General Assembly, and he cited the work of recent committees that have recommended strategies to make it more available.

“We will continue to discuss options to make broadband more available in Georgia during the 2018 session,” Brass said.