GPEE reveals solid next steps for workforce growth

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 14, 2019

On Tuesday morning, the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education presented the findings of a six-month, somewhat exhaustive study that sought to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the LaGrange and Troup County workforce pipeline. The study was presented during the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce’s March Early Bird Breakfast, and highlighted important attributes of our community’s labor force.

In identifying these areas of focus, the GPEE bracketed out the demographics of the county into five unique groups, those being Early Childhood, K-12, Post-Secondary, Work & Career and Disconnected Adults. The GPEE also assessed the county’s essential community services. Each area received traffic-light-themed grades, with areas identified as needing immediate attention (red), areas that are in need of improvement (yellow) and areas where the community is currently performing well (green).

In addition, the GPEE also released some wide-sweeping suggestions for improving the area’s workforce pipeline. Those recommendations touched on all elements of the community, but some of the most important recommendations were to support and expand quality childcare and early literacy incentives as economic development strategies, and to grow trusting, collaborative partnerships – including leadership development – among underrepresented communities.

The early education literacy woes, particularly on the third-grade level, have been well-documented to this point. Multiple individuals and groups, such as Kathy Tilley and the Troup County Center for Strategic Planning, have been attacking this problem for some time. Efforts in the collaborative partnership space are being made as well, through groups such as the Troup County Racial Trustbuilding Initiative. While the work in both areas is far from complete, there are those in the county meeting these problems head-on.

Through all the data and recommendations relayed by the GPEE, this fact stood above them all. Recommendations are only as good as those people who receive them choose to make them. Troup County citizens must continue to take ownership of the realities in our county, both good and bad, to see change.