Development authority

Officials unveiled a new development strategy Tuesday for job creation with Golden Isles Development Authority Director Ryan Moore, left to right, Golden Isles Chamber of Commerce Director Ralph Staffins, Carl Vinson Institute of Government consultant Greg Wilson and the authority’s director of business development Vanessa Wagner.

A sneak preview of a development strategy for the Golden Isles was unveiled Tuesday during a joint meeting between the Golden Isles Development Authority and Chamber of Commerce.

Ryan Moore, president and CEO of the development authority, said the study will help guide future decisions.

“We learned a lot through this process,” Moore said. “We’re moving in the right direction.”

Greg Wilson, a consultant with the Carl Vinson Institute of Government, said it was a challenge conducting a study during a pandemic, but it sets up the Golden Isles “for even more success.”

“We know you will get back to normal, and workforce development is critical,” he said. “We did it the right way even in the midst of a pandemic.”

Titled Golden Opportunities, the study is described as a talent development strategy roadmap. The vision statement succinctly describes its goals: “The Golden Isles will be recognized as a top location for talent development and attraction that supports a growing and diverse set of industries. This vision will be achieved by implementing a communitywide workforce development strategy that is aligned to current and future workforce needs, is inclusive of partners and has clear accountability.”

The plan has four priorities, with the first being to build the youth and young adult talent pipeline. During the first year, a teacher and counselor externship program will be launched. Educators will go into different workplaces for a better understanding of different job opportunities available for students. There are also plans to create a career coaching pilot program in schools.

During the second year, a program to support literacy in early grades, creation of an internship program and a career awareness program will be created. Long-term plans include expanding STEM programs and creating additional opportunities at the Golden Isles College and Career Academy.

The second priority is to support and strengthen the adult workforce by advocating for the expansion of Coastal Pines Technical College, supporting existing workforce partners and promoting the Keep Glynn Running job portal.

The creation of space in downtown Brunswick for workforce development and supporting programs to help people re-enter the workforce and coordinating with existing employers to conduct industry pipeline training programs are other goals.

Creation of a community workforce network would include implementation of a workforce development strategy, enhancing marketing and outreach of existing workforce resources and programs and developing an annual report and accountability structure.

The final priority is to develop and support entrepreneurs by recruiting mentors and by developing a training program for them. A program will also be created to expose students to entrepreneurial thinking.

Wilson said the Golden Isles population has grown by 24 percent since 2000 and the projections going to the year 2050 have the county continuing to grow at 23 percent.

“The good news is Glynn County is predicted to continue growing,” he said.

The goals set in the plan will yield positive results if followed, Wilson said. “This is an ambitious strategy, but it is very doable.”

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