Economic Office Unveiling Strategic Plan

On Thursday, the Cherokee Office of Economic Development will unveil a multi-year plan to enhance Cherokee’s workforce.

The Cherokee Workforce Collaborative created strategic goals and action items to ensure Cherokee continues to be a destination for new and expanding companies by bringing “vested parties together to build upon efforts and success and look toward the future,” according to a COED news release.

At Thursday’s event, those strategic goals and action items will be showcased to the county.

“The Workforce Cherokee Strategy was developed by industry leaders of Cherokee’s growing corporations, Cherokee County School District, Cherokee Office of Economic Development, Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Department of Labor, Atlanta Regional Commission, Chattahoochee Technical College, Reinhardt University, Kennesaw State University, entrepreneurs, and local nonprofits,” said Mark Goddard, COED board member and chair of the Cherokee Workforce Collaborative.

The University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government facilitated the work sessions and the Georgia’s “High Demand Career Initiative,” an effort driven by Deal to prepare Georgia for growing job sectors, according to the release.

The plan will put into action years of research and combined with other ongoing initiatives, COED is “on a mission to keep and grow jobs in Cherokee County.”

“The major component of the Workforce Cherokee Strategy is collaborating with industry and education to ensure each side benefits,” said COED President Misti Martin. “Cherokee County has a skilled workforce, and as we continue to recruit new employers and further opportunities for start-ups through the new Fresh Start Cherokee entrepreneurship program, growing and strengthening that skilled workforce is essential. We want Cherokee to be the strongest workforce supply chain in Georgia.”

The need for the plan arose from surveys and research through the “Opportunity Cherokee” economic development strategic blueprint.

“When corporations are looking to locate and/or expand, they cite workforce strength as one of the key indicators in their move,” said COED Chairman Marshall Day.

Part of the project includes starting young, and that means working with K-12 and post-secondary education officials to “ensure students are given the opportunity to succeed in a field that represents their strengths and provides employers with employees who enjoy their industry,” the release said.

“We have a great opportunity here to work from kid to CEO – it will help students find career paths that are right for them,” Martin said. “The Workforce Cherokee plan addresses the need for retaining their students as part of the quality workforce. The Workforce Cherokee plan will also launch a young professionals’ scholarship that will provide real-world internship opportunities.”

Martin added that students in their senior year of high school will apply and interview for the scholarship opportunity, and students will be offered college credit for their professional development during the internship.

In addition to the opportunity for the student, the scholarship program also makes connections to employers searching for Cherokee’s best and brightest, according to the release.

The plan responds to needs in the workforce and puts a talent development strategy in place for the high demand careers of the future.

The Workforce Cherokee launch event will take place at The Circuit at Chattahoochee Tech’s Woodstock Campus at One Innovation Way in Woodstock. The event will begin at 8 a.m.

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