26 March 2008

Governor Perdue Accepts $5 Million Workforce Development Grant from U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Chao

Today Governor Sonny Perdue, along with U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss and U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, accepted a $5 million Workforce Development Demonstration Grant from U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao to assist with the planned expansion of Ft. Benning and the transitions of Fort Gillem, Fort McPherson and the Navy Supply Corps School.

“Over the years, Georgia has shown its deep commitment to support our military troops and their families,” said Governor Sonny Perdue. “This grant will help ensure that Georgia’s bases impacted by the BRAC process continue to be valuable assets for our state.”

The grant provides funding for regional workforce development projects tied to military base transitions associated with the federal Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC). Specifically, it will fund two regional initiatives over 36 months:
· Fort Benning: $3 million to develop workforce for industrial construction; automotive maintenance and aerospace advanced manufacturing; and information and communication technologies
· Fort Gillem, Fort McPherson, Navy Supply Corps School: $2 million to transition the workforce at these facilities with a focus on new jobs associated with the life sciences industry cluster

“Georgia was an overall gainer as a result of the BRAC process, and as we continue to adjust to the various changes associated with that process, today’s announcement is welcome news,” said U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “The military communities across Georgia make significant contributions to our national security, and I am pleased that this grant will help those receiving new missions as well as those transitioning to new missions. BRAC represents a tremendous opportunity to grow and shape our Georgia workforce and I am pleased that the Department of Labor has seen fit to reward Georgia with these funds to help our communities rise to the challenge.”

“I appreciate the time, energy and funding that Secretary Chao and the Department of Labor have spent on this process,” said U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson. “They have recognized both the need for this funding and Georgia’s willingness to properly execute what will be a great economic asset to the state.”

The work-plans for each project are consistent with the Governor’s Work Ready Regions initiative. In Work Ready Regions, multiple counties work together to develop regional talent pools aligned to a common, existing strategic industry. By pooling the strengths of each region, these communities will help their local companies thrive and increase economic development opportunities.

“This grant will transform the workforce from the three bases slated for closure to support our state’s growing life science cluster,” said Governor Perdue. “It will also create a ready talent pool to support the successful expansion of Fort Benning.”

The grant will be administered by the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development (GOWD), which worked in partnership with the Atlanta Regional Workforce Investment Board and The Valley Partnership in the BRAC demonstration grant application to the U.S. Department of Labor for funding.

Georgia’s Work Ready initiative, a partnership with the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, is based upon a skills assessment and certification for job seekers and a job profiling system for businesses. By identifying both the needs of the business and the available skills of Georgia’s workforce, the state can effectively develop the employee’s skills and match them with the right jobs.

For more information on the Work Ready initiative please visit the Web site at www.gaworkready.org.
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