Community becomes core Metro Atlanta’s first and the state’s largest to earn certification, further propelling local job growth

(METRO ATLANTA/GWINNETT COUNTY) December 13, 2011 – Gwinnett Chamber Economic Development is proud to celebrate the announcement of Gwinnett County’s designation as a Georgia Certified Work Ready Community, as pronounced yesterday by the State of Georgia Office of the Governor. Gwinnett County is the largest county in the state to earn this certification, as well as the first in Metro Atlanta’s five core counties. Communities that earn this designation must demonstrate a commitment to improving public high school graduation rates through a measurable increase and show that a significant percentage of the available and current workforce have earned Work Ready Certificates.

“Gwinnett is proud to be named a Certified Work Ready Community,” said Gwinnett County Commission Chair, Charlotte Nash. “Our community has the skilled workforce that growing businesses demand, and the educational infrastructure to drive economic growth and prosperity. The designation indicates that our focus on these areas should translate to more jobs for residents in our county.”

Georgia Work Ready was created to ensure that Georgia’s workers have the best skills, easy access to training and world-class job opportunities. The backbone of the initiative is the Work Ready Certificate, which assesses the real world skills of Georgia’s workers. Georgians can use their Work Ready Certificate to prove their work readiness to potential employers. Georgia also offers gap training aimed at helping to improve Certificate scores, enabling career growth and continued on-the-job success. This, combined with an innovative job profiling process that accurately identifies the exact skills required for specific jobs is helping create the perfect match between Georgia workers and jobs.

“Gwinnett’s success in being the first large county to be certified Work Ready is attributable to the great collaboration we had among the key partners – -the Chamber, business and industry, and education, at both the college and high school level,” said President Sharon Bartels, Gwinnett Tech. “This certification is a tremendous boost to economic development and supports future job growth. To employers and to companies who are considering locating in Gwinnett, Work Ready certification assures them that we have the skilled workforce they need. It’s a green light to locate, to expand and to hire in Gwinnett.”

The designation announcement is primarily attributed to a great amount of time and focused efforts from Gwinnett Technical College and partnering organizations, like WIKA Instrument Corporation, which enthusiastically embraced the goal of the program by requiring that candidates who apply for positions within the company must be Georgia Work Ready certified to be hired for positions profiled.

“WIKA believes that using the Georgia Work Ready Program has strengthened our workforce. We have made an investment in our employees that will give us a return for years to come through improved hiring procedures, reduced turnover, reduced training costs, increased productivity and profitability and high employee morale. We have become an even more competitive company and will be the model others will follow in promoting efficiency throughout the workforce,” said Kathy J. Scott, HR Generalist at WIKA Instrument Corporation. “Competitiveness and leadership will create new jobs and save existing jobs. Most importantly, with all the benefits we see as part of Georgia Work Ready, WIKA has reduced the risk of downsizing, layoffs and facility closure, thereby keeping a growing Georgia business in Georgia.”

“We would like to thank specifically the Atlanta Regional Commission, Gwinnett Tech, WIKA and the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development on their partnership in achieving this title. The official designation is quite a noteworthy achievement for Gwinnett, and we are confident that our educated workforce will continue to ensure that Gwinnett maintains the lowest employment rate in Metro Atlanta’s core counties, as we have for the past 29 consecutive months,” said Nick Masino, Vice President of Economic Development and Partnership Gwinnett.

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