Deal: Douglas, Gilmer counties named Work Ready: Atkinson, Brooks, Candler, Lowndes become first counties to receive recertification

August 2, 2011

Gov. Nathan Deal today announced that Douglas and Gilmer counties are new Certified Work Ready Communities of Excellence, a designation communicating a county has the skilled workforce needed to meet business demands and drive economic growth, as well as the educational foundation to build a pipeline of workers ready to create ongoing success.

"By building strong public-private partnerships, these communities are transforming their workforces and encouraging economic development," said Deal. "The Georgians in these communities are taking charge of their futures and equipping themselves for success."

Douglas and Gilmer counties represent the 14th group to complete their Work Ready Certificate goals and successfully meet at least the required minimum increase in their county's public high school graduation rate.
The new Certified Work Ready Communities of Excellence achieved the following:
Douglas County: 2,575 Work Ready Certificates earned (162 percent more than goal); increased public high school graduation rate from 71.7 to 80.6 percent

Gilmer County: 592 Work Ready Certificates earned (78 percent more than goal); increased public high school graduation rate from 73.9 to 87.9 percent.

To earn the Certified Work Ready Community designation, counties must demonstrate a commitment to improving public high school graduation rates through a measurable increase, and show a specified percentage of the available and current workforce has obtained Work Ready Certificates.

To continue their work, each county will receive a $10,000 grant. Their Work Ready Community teams will also receive a two-year membership to their local chamber of commerce and a budget for additional Work Ready outreach materials. Counties that are fully certified receive road signs and a seal denoting the year they achieved certification.

Deal additionally announced four counties have achieved recertification status as Certified Work Ready Communities of Excellence.

The four counties to achieve re-certification status as Certified Work Ready Communities of Excellence are Atkinson, Brooks, Candler and Lowndes counties. These counties represent the first group of Georgia counties to achieve recertification status as Certified Work Ready Communities of Excellence.

The counties achieving recertification status as a Certified Work Ready Communities of Excellence achieved the following:
Atkinson County: 364 Work Ready Certificates earned (290 certificates applicable to recertification goal, and 191 percent more than goal); one job profile; six businesses recognizing Work Ready; standing public high school graduation rate of 81.8 percent

Brooks County: 791 Work Ready Certificates earned (582 certificates applicable to recertification goal, and 226 percent more than goal); four job profiles; six businesses recognizing Work Ready; increased public high school graduation rate from 63.3 to 71.1 percent

Candler County: 624 Work Ready Certificates earned (473 certificates applicable to recertification goal, and 288 percent more than goal); one job profile; eight businesses recognizing Work Ready; standing public high school graduation rate of 77.9 percent

Lowndes County: 2,642 Work Ready Certificates earned (1,736 certificates applicable to recertification goal, and 161 percent more than goal); 21 job profiles; 20 businesses recognizing Work Ready; increased public high school graduation rate from 76.9 to 83.4 percent.

Each community created a team of economic development, government and education partners to meet the certification and recertification criteria. Counties are given three years to reach the goals necessary to earn the designation.

Once counties attain their Certified Work Ready Community goals, they are able to maintain their status by ensuring that their available workforce continues to earn Work Ready Certificates, engages local businesses to recognize and use Work Ready, and continues to increase their public high school graduation rate.