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February 13, 2009 (WALB) - Dougherty County has become a certified Work Ready community, authorities say.


Hard work by area students and local employees could pay off big for the local economy if local economic development officials have anything to say about it.


Thursday, Gov. Sonny Perdue announced Dougherty County was in a group of five Georgia counties that had become certified work ready communities — a distinction linked to public high school graduation rates, state officials say.


According to the Governor’s Public Affairs office, the designation means that the county has demonstrated “a commitment to improving public high school graduation rates through a measurable increase,” and has shown that a certain percentage of the available and current workforce have obtained work-ready certificates.


Dougherty County received 1,556 work ready certificates which is 37 percent above their goal, according to a press release issued by the governor’s office.


Dougherty also increased its graduation rate from 57.5 percent to 63.3 percent, according to the governor’s numbers.


The designation means the county will receive a $10,000 grant to continue pushing work ready certificates and bolstering graduation rates, but for local officials charged with recruiting new businesses, it could also give Albany and


Dougherty County and edge.


“It means we have a skilled workforce ready to go,” Catherine Glover, president of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, said. “It gives us an edge as a community to economic development and enticing businesses to come here.”


Glover said that organizations like the chamber can now use the Work-ready distinction when courting new businesses who she says often look for a strong, educated and skilled “work-ready” workforce before they’ll move to a community.



By, J.D. Sumner

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