The Georgia Department of Education has named five local school systems as pilot participants in its new Economic Development Partnership (EDP) program. Pilot work will begin with Whitfield County, Marietta City, Newton County, Muscogee County, and Wayne County this school year, with plans to roll out to all interested school systems in the 2019-2020 school year.
The EDP program seeks to promote improved relationships between local school districts and business/industry. The program, which is loosely modeled on GaDOE’s STEM and STEAM certification for schools, aims to meet the workforce development needs of Georgia’s current and future employers and expand opportunities for students. The designation is endorsed by the Georgia Economic Developers Association (GEDA).
“We have been pleased to partner with the Georgia Department of Education in the development and rollout of the Economic Development Partnership,” GEDA President Kevin Shea said. “We are excited about the potential for an improved partnership with school districts and GEDA member economic development organizations throughout the state of Georgia, to enhance communication and opportunities for business and quality of life and place.”
Alignment of common priorities among education and industry leadership is a central tenet of the program. Pilot systems will work with Department staff to ensure smooth program delivery and broad applicability across the state.
“It’s our primary goal and responsibility to equip students with the tools they need to live successful, rewarding lives after they complete their K-12 education,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “As the primary emphasis for so many businesses has shifted from physical location to future talent, it’s critical that we facilitate a stronger connection between our educational system and the business/industry community. The EDP program will make that connection an ongoing reality in Georgia’s public schools.”
The Economic Development Partnership will include required leadership trainings and a review of local Career Pathway offerings, as well as components that can be scaled or modified to fit individual communities.
“The ability of CTAE to keep up with changes in technology and workforce trends is dependent on building and maintaining open lines of communication and lasting partnerships with business and industry,” said Dr. Barbara Wall, State Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education (CTAE) Director.