5 states recognized for accelerating workforce development

SEDC News,

5 states recognized for accelerating  workforce development

In today’s rapidly evolving economy, states throughout the Southeast are prioritizing workforce development initiatives to ensure their citizens have the skills necessary to thrive in the modern job market. Five notable programs, Georgia Quick Start, Louisiana FastStart and Virginia Fast Forward, South Carolina Works and Alabama Works have emerged as successful models for fostering economic growth through targeted workforce training.  

  1. Georgia Quick Start is a unique, industry-specific workforce training program that has played a pivotal role in Georgia’s economic development.  The program, operated by the Technical College System of Georgia, partners with businesses to provide customized training solutions. Quick Start’s success stems from its ability to tailor training curricula to meet the specific needs of participating companies, ensuring a direct alignment between the skills acquired and the demands of the job market. By providing training at no cost to qualifying businesses, Quick Start encourages investment in Georgia, fostering job creation and economic prosperity.

  2. Louisiana FastStart has gained recognition as one of the most effective workforce development programs in the country. Focusing on attracting new businesses and helping existing companies expand, FastStart delivers comprehensive training programs tailored to the needs of targeted industries. By leveraging cutting-edge technology and utilizing advanced recruitment strategies, FastStart ensures a skilled workforce is readily available to meet the demands of high growth sectors. This program’s success can be attributed to its close collaboration with companies, its swift response to changing industry dynamics and its ability to customize training initiatives.

  3. Virginia Fast Forward is an innovative workforce development initiative designed to address the skills gap and promote high demand occupations in the state. Partnering with businesses, educational institutions, and industry stakeholders, Fast Forward  offers subsidized training programs, enabling individuals to gain industry-recognized credentials in critical sectors. By providing financial assistance to cover a significant portion of training costs, the program removes financial barriers to cover a significant portion of training costs and encourages workforce participation. Through strategic partnerships with employers, Fast Forward ensures the training provided is directly aligned with industry needs, facilitating seamless transitions into employment.

  4. South Carolina Works focuses on collaboration between the public and private sectors. It is operated through a network of local offices and online platforms. The online platform includes a resume builder, a job search alert system to notify you of available jobs that meet your specifications and a current job search section. The main site, scworks.org, divides the site into job seekers, employers, and workforce partners. This initiative brings together various stakeholders including government agencies, educational institutions and industry leaders to align their efforts and resources. The programs include apprenticeships, on-the-job training and skills development workshops.  

    A vital partner in SC and an integral part of the SC Technical College System, readySC™ works together with the 16 technical colleges to prepare South Carolina's workforce to meet the needs of companies coming into the state or to help those companies who are already in South Carolina and looking to expand. Established in 1961, readySC™ is one of the oldest and most experienced workforce training programs in the United States.

    readySC™ provides company-specific customized training that can be done prior to or during employment. Often, a combination of pre and post-employment training best suits the customers’ needs. To qualify for readySC™, an organization must provide that the jobs be permanent and pay a competitive wage for the area. The benefit package must include health insurance. The numbers of jobs created must be sufficient enough to allow readySC™ to provide training in a cost-effective manner. This program is funded by the State of South Carolina via the State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education. readySC™ has trained more than 307,000 people and served more than 2,200 companies since 1961.  

  5. AlabamaWorks provides both entry level training and advanced training programs allowing individuals to upskill and reskill based on their career goals. This program works with the education systems to provide industry certifications and provide work-based learning opportunities. This program is known for their monitoring systems to reanalyze the effectiveness of the programs and relevance to the needs of the market. AlabamaWorks works closely with employers to ensure that the training programs are designed to meet their requirements.