The Georgia Department of Education, in partnership with the Georgia Economic Developers Association (GEDA) and Georgia Power, announced Thursday that Bulloch County Schools has been awarded its Economic Development Partnership designation.
“This is a worthwhile recognition of the great work being done by our staff and community partners to prepare our students for success and better address workforce development needs, and this is very timely given the forthcoming demand that will require even greater partnership and preparation across our community,” said Charles Wilson, superintendent of schools for Bulloch County.
In July 2021, Bulloch County Schools was approved by the state to pursue the designation. Over the past year the school district was required to meet certain criteria related to its business and industry partnerships, the strength of local Career Technical and Agricultural Education program offerings for students, and the school district’s economic development related activities. The designation is the result of that work and the strength of partnerships with the Development Authority of Bulloch County and local business and industry leaders, particularly Great Dane of Statesboro.
“Partnering with Bulloch County Schools for this designation is an important step toward increasing the marketability of Bulloch County for new and existing industries, said Benjy Thompson, Chief Executive Officer of the Development Authority of Bulloch County. “We are excited about continuing this work toward building our workforce and employment opportunities.”
This designation certifies that Bulloch County Schools’ Career, Technical & Agricultural Education (CTAE) program is collaborating with Bulloch County’s leading economic development partners, and continues to position itself to best benefit the work and career readiness needs of its students.
Pursuit of this designation was a goal of the local Career – Workforce Steering Committee, a collaborative team of education, economic development, business, and industry leaders, who are actively working in Bulloch County to accomplish a three-year Career – Workforce Development Plan. The committee unveiled its plan to the community in November.
Bulloch County Schools’ CTAE leadership and faculty as well as local partners met virtually and in person with the state’s EDP team on May 25, 2021, October 15, 2021, and January 21, 2022 to conduct a thorough review of the school district’s career and workforce readiness efforts.
“We are honored to have earned the Economic Development Partnership Designation as it affirms the work we are doing related to our Career-Workforce Development Plan,” said Bethany Gilliam, director of Bulloch County Schools’ CTAE program. “Earning this designation is possible by all of the support we receive from our local business and industry partners. Our CTAE teachers and community stakeholders are constantly working to prepare students for their careers and the highly skilled workforce.”
The school district will be honored by the state at the GEDA’s fall conference to be held September 14-16, in Savannah. Bulloch County Schools was one of six public school districts to receive the designation this year: Barrow, Fannin, Floyd, Hall, and Savannah-Chatham counties.
“I am proud of these six districts for earning the EDP designation and for their efforts in ensuring that our CTAE programs contribute to the economic and workforce development efforts of their community and our state,” said Dr. Barbara Wall, the Georgia Department of Education’s Deputy School Superintendent for Career Technical & Agricultural Education. “Over the last year, district CTAE leadership and stakeholders worked closely with our EDP team, including a series of virtual meetings, a site visit, and required documentation submission.
The Economic Development Partnership Program
The Economic Development Partnership designation recognizes districts participating in the program’s certification process. It prepares them to adopt best practices and behaviors that support economic development, strengthen their programs, and align education with vital regional industries.
The Georgia Department of Education describes the program’s purpose as an opportunity to elevate the capability of school systems to fulfill their role as an essential part of the community in business recruitment. Additionally, school districts are recognized as a catalyst for talent development in the community through an expansion of efforts and collaboration. The program promotes increased Work-Based Learning and Youth Apprenticeship opportunities, local business and industry exposure, and career-relevant classroom content for students.