Education / Workforce Development
Beginning in the 1990 and revitalized in 2007, the Chamber and School system signed a ‘COMPACT’ consisting of an agreed list of ‘areas of support’ each entity pledged it would strive to support for the other. Over the years, the topics change and are re-prioritized, based on the needs of the time.
Past and current programs include but are not limited to the following:
- Recognition of Teachers through a Teacher of the Year Gala
- Summer internships
- During the year, student coop placements
- Development of Technical Education Certificate Programs
- Certified Hospital Transporter
- Certified Office Management
- Certified Manufacturer
- Certified Construction Management
- Campaign support to pass ESPLOST
- Reduced dropouts
- Technical education available to all high school students
- New schools allowing for facilities in grow areas of the community
- 3rd Grade Reading Warranty
- Increased CRCT scores
- No schools on needs AYP list
The Chamber remains engaged in keeping the School Board and Administration working closely together with open dialog. Further, the Chamber remains very committed to ESPLOST delivering construction projects that have the highest degree of local business/worker participation and minority business/worker participation, with an economic balance of good value.
In addition to providing quality education, producing a highly skilled workforce is the key to ensuring future success of the Savannah community.
In response, a workforce development report was produced by the Armstrong Center for Regional Analysis in cooperation with the Armstrong Public Service Center on behalf of the Savannah Economic Development Authority (SEDA), the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Inc., and the United Way of the Coastal Empire.
Completed in March 2014, the study was conducted to develop an accurate assessment of current conditions
in the Chatham County labor market.
The study showed that 61 organizations in Chatham County offer 221 workforce programs, with Savannah Technical College providing 63% of them. In addition, 57% of employers are willing to train an applicant if they have soft skills such as customer service, internal communications and teamwork skills.
Although this study has provided a great deal of useful information, the work has just begun. The Savannah Chamber will continue its close partnerships with SEDA and the UWCE to ensure the future success of our local workforce.
In June 2014, Savannah was awarded a grant from the LUMINA Foundation to help Chatham County reach a larger percentage of technical school and college graduates. From this, Savannah Graduates was created. Savannah Graduates is focused on improving outcomes by leveraging existing resources, and by implementing a comprehensive community plan. Leaders from partner organizations including Armstrong State University, Chatham County, City of Savannah, Coastal Workforce Services, Coastal Georgia Indicators Coalition, Georgia Power, Gulfstream Aerospace, Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce, Savannah-Chatham County Public School System, Savannah Economic Development Authority, Savannah State University, Savannah Technical College, Step Up Savannah, and the United Way of the Coastal Empire, established an Executive Council and a steering committee to formally create a partnership whose focus is on increasing post-secondary completion and workforce development in Savannah-Chatham County.
The partnership’s overarching goal is to increase completion by obtaining an additional 16,000 professional credentials and degrees, totaling 85,000 degrees in Savannah-Chatham County by 2025. This will be done through a variety of outlets from increased internship opportunities to Savannah Graduates serving as a resource for workforce and educational programs already in place. This initiative was officially unveiled to the Savannah-Chatham community in February 2015. Although not the only answer, Savannah Graduates is seen as one response in the community’s effort to build a stronger workforce, ultimately increasing Savannah’s competiveness and quality of life. For more information on Savannah Graduates, visit their website.