United Way of Coastal Georgia fights for the health, education and financial stability of every resident in Glynn and McIntosh counties. United Way fights to help people pave a stable financial path forward, and to create opportunities for financial stability, and ultimately, economic mobility. Every person should be able to get a good job that supports their family and be provided with the opportunity to advance their skills and salary.
Every day, people in our community struggle with economic issues that are overwhelming — families who can’t afford to put food on the table; homeless veterans who can’t get help to get off the streets; unemployed and underemployed youth who lack skills for a good job offering a living wage.
United Way wants every person to have an opportunity to improve their economic status. The first step is to secure financial stability. Then, we want people to be able to boost economic mobility — like getting a job in a high-growth sector or getting training to equip them for advancement in their job. And we want more people to have more access to quality health care, better housing, and broader educational opportunities.
But moving up the economic ladder is not easy. That’s why United Way focuses its financial stability and economic mobility work in job readiness, so that people have the education and skills to obtain and retain good jobs with the potential for advancement.
The Glynn and McIntosh County region has multiple efforts and initiatives focused on soft skills training as a preparation for the workforce. Stakeholders from the employer, economic development and education communities are working to promote and advocate for local workforce opportunities. However, Glynn County maintains a high percentage of youth who are neither working nor in school or training programs. An estimated 22.6 percent of all Glynn County residents aged 16 to 24 are unable to successfully transition from high school to employment or post-secondary education.
This compares to 15.5 percent in the state of Georgia and 12.3 percent in the United States. Despite the availability of a labor force, local employers report persistent recruitment and retention challenges.
United Way facilitates and provides capacity building support for the Workforce Development Roundtable’s collective impact efforts. Funding is provided by the Fitzgerald Foundation of Atlanta. Collaborative members for the Workforce Development Roundtable are:
• Employers (Gulfstream Aerospace, Sea Island Company, King and Prince Seafood, Southeast Georgia Health Systems)
• Chamber of Commerce
• Brunswick and Glynn County Economic Development Authority
• Education/ Training (Glynn County Public Schools, College of Coastal Georgia, Golden Isles College and Career Academy, Coastal Pines Technical College, Goodwill Training Center, Eckerd Works, Safe Harbor Street Beat)
Roundtable participants discuss solutions that include targeted training provided by nonprofit and for-profit training and placement agencies, increased access to affordable workforce transportation, increased access to affordable childcare, and increased affordable housing.
Awareness of workforce opportunities among the education and nonprofit community, as well as parents of targeted youth, is also cited as a potential solution. On Oct. 22, an initiative, Go Build Glynn, discussed by the collaborative Roundtable participants, will launch. Go Build Glynn is an effort to increase awareness for the current and future high demand for manufacturing and hospitality workforce development in Glynn County. Ultimately, students are the target audience, but this initial event will target those who may influence students’ career pathway decisions such as counselors, parents, teachers, and administrators.
United Way is currently funding eight programs addressing financial stability with services ranging from providing food for hungry families to skills training leading to self-sufficiency.
For more information on United Way of Coastal Georgia, visit www.uwcga.org or call 912-265-1850.