Jobs were a big topic as two state entities met separately in Glynn County on Monday.

The state Board of Education is in Brunswick this week for its fall retreat. Among the issues the board discussed during Monday’s meeting was finding a way to make sure Georgia’s workforce is prepared for jobs in the state’s bustling film industry.

So just how big is the film business in the state? Georgia Film Academy executive director Jeffrey Stepakoff said Georgia’s film industry was responsible for $242 million in economic activity in 2007. Today, that number is up to $9.5 billion.

“That’s a 4,000 percent increase in barely a decade,” Stepakoff said.

Stepakoff spoke during the board’s retreat about the program, which was established to develop the workforce needed to keep the film industry booming in the state, about what it will take to accomplish that feat.

The film academy has partnered with the Georgia Department of Education to develop a curriculum on film and television writing that is being taught in some high schools.

At the same time the state board of education was meeting, so was the state House Rural Development Council. Their discussion about improving the workforce centered on apprenticeships.

“It combines training with employment — you’re not just going to school, you’re off the street and earning some money, an advantage,” David Bridges, president of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, told the council.

The common thread between both is finding a way to keep the economic engines of the state going. Apprenticeships can help provide careers to those with a desire to learn a skill. In the same light, Georgia will need a generation of camera operators and others who can help keep the film industry chugging on in the state.

These are important questions that are not only worth asking now, they are worth remembering when the 2019 legislative session begins. If we empower our apprentice programs and provide support to help high schools educate our future workforce on the ins and outs of Georgia’s film industry, we can preserve a bright future for the next generations.

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