When talking about education issues, the first topic that comes to mind for most people is our public K-12 school system. Governor Deal created his Education Reform Commission in 2015 to study the current public K-12 school system and make recommendations on ways to reform it. Then, in his 2016 State of the State address, he announced the formation of his Teacher Advisory Committee to study the recommendations of the reform commission and help him set the legislative agenda for 2017 with regard to education reform. The 2017 General Assembly will have the responsibility to decide which of the recommendations the state will adopt, thus impacting the future of our public school system for decades to come.
In addition to the state level agenda on education, there are some items that we can focus on locally to strengthen our school system. The work that Dr. Price and her team are doing to strengthen the Work Based Learning program and to revitalize our Career Academy are critical to both the success of our students and our ability to attract new business to the community. A well trained workforce is essential when talking to prospective industries. Both of these programs provide the training and soft skills needed for high school graduates to be ready to enter the workforce or move on to our technical or four year colleges.
Our K-12 public school issues are not the only education related problems that our community faces. Even with the Hope Grant furnishing fully paid education for the most in-demand jobs, enrollment at our technical school system is very low. When new employers such as the Bostick Nursing Center are not able to entice enough people to participate in the LPN program at CGTC to meet their hiring demands, we have a serious issue. We must find a way to increase enrollment and graduate the skilled workforce needed to fill the jobs that our economic development professionals are recruiting to our community.
As Representative for District 145, I will work with local leaders from our K-12 public and private schools, Central Georgia Technical College, Georgia Military College and Georgia College and State University to support or craft legislation to address our education issues and ensure that our community becomes the best community for business in the state.