Georgia Trend

The Georgia Jobs Outlook

It’s a matter of training, education and timing. Logistics looks promising, but there’s a demand for veterinary technicians and wildlife managers as well.

Putting People To Work: Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler

Putting People To Work: Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler

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When Georgia Trend asked workforce development authorities to identify the professions and regions of the state where new jobs are developing and where the jobs of the future might be found, there was a near unanimous response on a number of fronts: The hottest of the hotspots for new jobs is in Southeast Georgia around the ports. And if the experts are to be believed, the demand for future workers will be in fields as varied as cosmetology, welding, plantation wildlife management and trucking. Logistics will continue to dominate the demand for future workers well into the future, with healthcare professionals right behind. The jobs will be there, say the pros, if candidates have the right training and/or education.

Sharon Poitevint stands in a newly built and furnished classroom on the campus of Southwest Georgia Technical College (SGTC) in Thomasville. Nestled in her arms is Juney, a 12-pound Jack Russell Terrier who seems to be fighting back a nap. Juney is a rescued dog, the survivor of a bad traffic accident that occurred eight years ago when the terrier was just a few weeks old. Poitevint is a veterinary technologist (VT) with 26 years of experience in the field, though she now works only one day a week at a local vet’s clinic. The rest of her time is spent teaching in SGTC’s brand new Veterinary Technology Program, a two-year course of study that, when successfully completed, will allow students to test for their Registered Veterinary Technician Certificate.

Then the newly minted VTs can step into waiting jobs, say the technical college faculty members. And how can they be so sure the jobs are waiting? It could have been the news reports that pet ownership across the U.S. is on the rise and has been for years, but it wasn’t. The need for a new VT program began to trickle in a few years ago when Southwest Georgia vets were pleading for some help in their practices. Then SGTC took a survey of the vets in their service area, and “the response was overwhelming,” says Dr. Bo Curles, director of the VT program at Southwest Georgia Tech.

“It showed there was definitely a shortage of trained veterinary technologists. These are jobs that have a starting salary of from $18,000 to $21,000, and that rapidly goes up with experience.” VT classes began this semester with 34 students. The new veterinary program is just one example of how Georgia institutions can help fill the needs of the state’s em-ployers.

Looking At Logistics

Debra Lyons is charged with the task of ensuring that when Georgia employers need workers, they can find them, even if those workers might need special skills outside the norm of average job seekers. Her company’s research has revealed a corridor in Georgia where jobs are growing on the landscape faster than kudzu after a summer rain. “You can look at logistics as just around the Port of Savannah,” says Lyons, vice president of community and economic development at the Atlanta office of ACT, the Iowa testing company that supplies Georgia’s Work Ready program with an assessment program to measure the skills of job seekers against the skills needed for certain jobs. “We also have a superb inland port with the Hartsfield-Jackson [Atlanta International] Airport. Between Hartsfield-Jack-son and the Port of Savannah and everything that runs between those two, across I-16 and up I-75, that is a tremendous [jobs] growth corridor for the logistics industry.”

Read the full article at Georgia Trend.

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