JA19 web - Page 25



24
JAMES
J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 1 9
development” or “customized training” are used so freost readers of James should be familiar
quently for products of widely varying quality, they
with the term “workforce development.”
risk draining away their significance. They can become
The phrase makes mandatory appearances at most
hollow mantras that often share the fate of other oneroundtables, conferences and workshops where businesstime business buzzwords like “synergy” and “innovapeople and political leaders gather to forecast the future.
tion,” which now can be found “outside the box,”
It is front and center in the speeches of politicians on the
“drilling down” with fellow “best-in-class” “thoughtstump. It is at the top of the list for companies looking
leaders” wondering what “game-changer” is responsifor locations in which to invest and create jobs.
ble for taking them “offline.”
So it is little surprise that more and more states
An exaggeration, of course. But you get the idea.
have been wrangling public-private partnerships and reWorkforce development and workforce training are
packaging federal grants to pitch solutions modeled
essential to our economy. And they are the focus of the
after Georgia Quick Start, the workforce training procore mission of preparing Georgians to learn skills and
gram voted number one by site location consultants
apply them effectively that ensures that the
and number one overall in editorial rankings
Technical College System of Georgia and
for more than 25 years.
Quick Start (a part of TCSG), will endure
What makes Georgia Quick Start
even after the dazzle fades away.
the top program of its kind are the
fundamentals: we provide direct,
free-of-charge, comprehensive,
COMPANIES KNOW
and customized workforce trainTHE DIFFERENCE
ing to companies creating jobs
Kia Motors Manufacturing
in Georgia. No tracking of grant
Georgia, Inc., in West Point,
money. No stacks of paperGa., has partnered with Quick
work. When jobs are created,
Start since 2006, and the latest
we show up where needed.
result is the hot-selling
And the meter isn’t runTelluride SUV.
ning— if a company continues to
When pharmaceutical comcreate new jobs, Quick Start is a
pany Baxter (now Takeda) located
full-time partner until any startup or
in Georgia— after five years of
expansion has reached its goal. It
scrutinizing sites for a $1.2 bilTrainees at Quick Start’s bioscience training center practice
could be a few months. It could
lion facility— company mantechniques for assembling, operating, and maintaining
be a few years. Our focus isn’t
production-scale equipment such as the centrifuge shown here.
agement pointed to “Quick
bureaucracy— it is Georgians perStart’s Georgia BioScience
forming at their best. If the business succeeds, so do our
Training Center and Georgia’s Quick Start workforce
citizens. Quick Start is here to make sure that happens.
education program as deciding factors.”
After SK Innovations officials announced they’d
NOT EASY BEING THE BEST
picked Georgia for a $1.7 billion battery plant just this
Sometimes it’s not easy being number one.
past November, the company’s CEO, Jun Kim, said that
Not too long ago it was rare to hear of a state proother states’ incentive packages were similar to
viding comprehensive, customized workforce training.
Georgia’s, but there were other factors, he said: “Perhaps
Today, you can’t read a state’s strategic plan that doesmost importantly, Georgia’s Quick Start customized
n’t use those words in some combination, all rolled up
training program.”
under the rubric of “workforce development.” The
“The selection of the location was more of a process
adventurous branding of workforce programs has creof deciding who we wanted to work with.”
ated a dazzling, and dizzying, landscape since the early
Rodger Brown is the executive director of marketing and strategic media at
days of the last recession, and states turned to Georgia
Georgia Quick Start, a division of the Technical College System of Georgia
to see how things get done.
It’s worth pausing for a moment of reflection at
J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 1 9
25
this point. Sometimes, when phrases like “workforce

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