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GOWD Executive Director Melvin Everson Visits OTC Campuses & Blackshear Site

Melvin Everson, director of the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development, and Jeff Breedlove, deputy director, met with Okefenokee Technical College President Dr. Gail Thaxton and other OTC officials in the College boardroom June 1 to discuss workforce development accomplishments and challenges. Andy Brannen, vice president for economic development, and Jason Rubenbauer, continuing education director, led Everson and Breedlove on a tour of the Waycross and Alma campuses following the meeting.

Everson also met with local business, education, and political leaders of Pierce County later that day at Jerry J’s restaurant in Blackshear to discuss the Georgia Work Ready Initiative and tour the OTC Blackshear site. The luncheon was attended by approximately 20 guests.

During the luncheon, Mr. Everson spoke about the need to pull together area community leaders and resources to help make South Georgia more attractive to new industries. He also spoke about how achieving Work Ready Certified Community status is an important step in that endeavor. A Certified Work Ready Community shows business and industry that our area has a trained workforce, commitment from the community, and local support to provide employees for their establishments.

According to Mr. Everson, “the Georgia Work Ready mission is to transform Georgia’s workforce into our number one competitive advantage to grow jobs in Georgia. A business looking to locate their operations must have a sustainable workforce to supply them with an educated work force with the necessary soft/social skills to make a profit.” Georgia Work Ready was created to ensure that Georgia’s workers have the best skills, along with easy and free access to online training to improve workplace skills.

He commended those counties in South Georgia that have attained Georgia Work Ready Community status and those who have begun to attain it.

Among those attending the meeting in Blackshear were Mitch Bowen, chairman of the county commission; Tom Davis, mayor; Richard King, sheriff; Mary Lott Walker, city council member; Tommy Lowmon, better hometown manager; Scott Moye, city administrator; Jim Waters, development authority board chair; Jane Youmans, assistant principal PCHS; business owners Carl Boyette, Matt Carter, Trey Walker, and Steve Waters; OTC President Dr. Gail Thaxton; and OTC staff members Andy Brannen, vice president for economic development; Charlie Gibson, career services director; James Mock, college police chief; Sue Moore, administrative assistant for economic development; Jason Rubenbauer, continuing education director; and Cindy Tanner, public relations director.

The Georgia Work Ready Assessment consists of three parts: Locating Information, Reading for Information, and Applied Mathematics. In addition, there is a talent assessment that helps individuals match their skills to the types of jobs in which they may be interested. The assessment is free to all Georgia residents, and qualifying participants may receive a pre-paid Visa gift card up to $200. Residents who have already taken the assessment and would like to improve their score may access free GAP training by registering at the adult education center located across from the OTC main campus at 1701 Carswell Avenue in Waycross.

Many businesses throughout Southeast Georgia now require the Work Ready Certificate. To take the Work Ready assessment or get your business Work Ready Certified, please call the Economic Development Division of Okefenokee Technical College at (912) 287-5854.

Photo 1

Photo 1:
Melvin Everson (left, seated) spoke recently with area officials in Blackshear about the need to pull together community leaders and resources to help make South Georgia more attractive to new industries. He also emphasized how achieving Work Ready Certified Community status is an important step in that endeavor and how he is committed to South Georgia workforce development.

Photo 2

Photo 2:
The OTC leadership team and senior staff met with Melvin Everson June 1 to discuss workforce development accomplishments and challenges. Those attending the breakfast meeting were (back row, L to R) James Mock, Chad Boyett, Charlie Gibson, Dr. Steve Pearce, (front row, L to R) Austin Johnson, Jason Rubenbauer, Andy Brannen, Melvin Everson, OTC President Dr. Gail Thaxton, Carol Shugart, Danita Cannon, and Pam Farr.

Photo 3

Photo 3:
Melvin Everson (right) listens as Charlie Gibson (bottom left) shares recent experiences, success stories and challenges, of OTC graduates as they seek full-time employment. Also in the photo are OTC staff members Austin Johnson (L to R), Pamela Farr, OTC President Dr. Gail Thaxton, and Danita Cannon (behind Everson).

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