Georgia Chamber and GaDOE Partner on Rural Workforce Efforts

Walt Farrell

Published October 6, 2023

Press Release

ATLANTA, GA, Oct. 6, 2023 – The Georgia Chamber Foundation is partnering with the Georgia Department of Education to support workforce readiness in rural school districts.

GaDOE, in partnership with the Georgia Chamber of Commerce Foundation through the Georgia Chamber’s Center for Rural Prosperity, will award $3 million in grants to rural districts for projects designed to increase workforce readiness.

Selected initiatives will be those that strengthen alignment with business and industry needs, expand awareness of post-secondary and high-demand career opportunities, and expand entrepreneurial and work-based learning opportunities for rural students.

“Partnerships with business and industry are essential to expand opportunities for our students – to ensure they graduate equipped to pursue careers and live successful, fulfilling lives,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “This historic partnership with the Georgia Chamber Foundation will allow us to reach students in our rural school systems with educational experiences that will equip them to participate in Georgia’s high-demand industries and contribute to the prosperity of our state.”

Education and talent development remain the top issues for the business community, according to the Georgia Chamber. Increasingly, businesses are focused on engagement within their local K-12 systems – both to ensure students are aware of career opportunities in growing industries, and to partner with districts to ensure programs offered are relevant and reflect the skills needed in the workplace.

“Consistently, we hear from Georgia businesses that they want to engage students earlier to expose them to long-term career opportunities in their communities. Furthering partnerships among industry and K-12 school districts is vital, especially in our rural communities where partnerships and collaborations thrive. I want to thank Superintendent Woods for his leadership and dedication to the success of Georgia's students in every zip code,” said Chris Clark, President and CEO of the Georgia Chamber. "This program, in concert with Governor Kemp’s recent announcement of the GEORGIA MATCH Program, proves Georgia is investing in innovative solutions to build the workforce of the future."

Currently, the Georgia Department of Education defines 115 Georgia school systems as rural, including state charter schools located in rural areas. Application information will be distributed to eligible school districts.