Perdue unveils new Work Ready Program during Augusta visit

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August 23, 2006

Georgia governor Sonny Perdue was in Augusta today launching an initiative to improve the state's workforce.

He's hoping a new "Work Ready" Program will fill new jobs by giving Georgians the job training they need.

Any time major companies consider locating in a community, they look at several things...but one important factor is always the workforce. Are there educated and skilled people in the area to fill positions? Sometimes the answer is no.

That's something the governor is hoping this initiative will change.

Governor Sonny Perdue's helicopter touched down on the grounds of the soon to be Watermark on the Riverwalk downtown condo project.

From there it was on to a quick greeting from city leaders before heading to a luncheon for the Celebrating Rural Georgia Conference.

It was there that Perdue made an ambitious announcement about improving Georgia's workforce.

"We're sending to the world that Georgia is ready to work," Perdue said.

Under the governor's new Work Ready Program, those who lack the education and training for certain jobs could earn a "work ready" certificate after taking a job assessment test. It would show employers they meet the minimum skill and education standards for the job and are ready to work.

"There would be an exam, accountability in it," Perdue said. "We want to ensure employees, employers have credibility and trust in this program so that we can deliver the goods."

The governor told News 12 he hopes the plan will not only attract new businesses to Georgia, but also better identify where the gaps are in skills and abilities of out-of-school youth and recent high school grads.

"It's a huge collaboration once again, sending a signal that this community is ready, willing and able to work," he said.

This Work Ready Program is voluntary for employers, but several companies have already pledged their support, including Georgia Power, IBM, UPS, and Callaway Gardens.

You can learn more about the Work Ready Program here.