By Laura Ann Sills - email
COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - News Leader 9 has been examining the unemployment problem in Georgia. Why is it so high and how can people get back in the workforce?
Economic Forecaster, Rajeev Dhawan, has some advice for those out of work, "Have hope, have flexibility, be willing to move, be willing to look outside their sectors, be willing to get re-trained."
Department of Labor Commissioner, Michael Thurmond, believes what worked 30 years ago won't work now, "That first step may be a new resume, better interviewing skills, and more labor market information about where the resources are. Go to Columbus tech, go to Columbus State."
Georgia officials are urging people to get back in the classroom, but what is the best way to pay for it all?
The Hope Grant is available to anyone who wants to attend a technical college, regardless of graduation date or grade point average. "It's paid for by the lottery, a lot of people don't know about it. The technical college system provides the best training in the country and this is available to any Georgia citizen," explains Kelly McCutchen, President of Georgia's Public Policy Foundation.
To apply for the grant you must be working on a 2 year degree or technical certificate. The grant provides money to pay tuition, some fees, and a book allowance.
Other financial aids for technical colleges are available, like the Pell Grant and work study programs.
Enrollment in Georgia's technical colleges has skyrocketed. There are almost 20,000 new students this year.
With the business growth coming to the Valley, Commissioner Ron Jackson says new skills are key. "The new marketplace the new manufacturing that KIA and NCR represent, these are highly skilled jobs, highly mechanized, so the kinds of skills and knowledge you have to have to work in one of those plants requires you to get the training for specific work."
The easiest way to find out if you are eligible for financial aid is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA).
A new committee is being formed in the Georgia State Senate to help small business growth. Speaker David Ralston believes the job creation these businesses bring will lead to a stronger economy.