Melvin Everson, Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development will be in Forsyth, Georgia (Monroe County) on Monday, April 4, 2011 at 3 p.m. to present the Leaders of Monroe County with their  Georgia Work Ready Certification. The presentation will take place at the Forsyth-Monroe County Chamber of Commerce and Welcome Center located at 68 North Lee Street, Forsyth, Georgia  31029.

That’s according to a Forsyth-Monroe County Chamber of Commerce news release.

When Georgians think of Monroe County, they usually think of Fried Green Tomatoes and the infamous Whistle Stop Cafe in Juliette. However, the county is home to several businesses and government agencies.

To help these organizations, the Forsyth-Monroe County Chamber of Commerce started the Certified Work Ready Community process – but reaching the goal was really a team effort. Leaders in the initiative included Tiffany Andrews, president and CEO of Forsyth-Monroe County Chamber of Commerce; Anthony Pack, superintendent of the Monroe County Board of Education; Mayor Tye Howard; Commission Chairman James Vaughn; and the Central Georgia Technical College, especially Rick Sharon, dean of Crawford and Monroe centers.

“The Georgia Department of Labor and Manpower were also valuable to our effort,” said Andrews. “Manpower’s Macon office sent a large number of their job seekers to us to take the Work Ready assessment.”

The leadership team built excitement around Work Ready through radio ads and articles in the Monroe County Reporter and the chamber’s weekly and monthly newsletters. The Work Ready billboard on Interstate 75 also created buzz. The chamber, in conjunction with its local Central Georgia Technical College campus, coordinated a leadership assessment challenge on a Saturday to get community leaders engaged in Work Ready. In addition, the 2010 Leadership Monroe class was required to take the Work Ready assessment as part of the program criteria.

Local businesses rallied around Work Ready as well. Monroe County Bank President Bill Bazemore required all bank employees to take the Work Ready assessment. Henry Hicks, the president of American International Movers headquartered in Forsyth, is Work Ready Certified and expects all applicants to his company to become certified as well.

Monroe County’s strong government employment base has been an asset in its goal to become a Work Ready Certified Community. In addition to being the home of the Georgia Public Safety Training Center, the Georgia Department of Corrections relocated its headquarters onto the campus of the former Tift College in November 2010. The corrections department plans to profile many of its 400 positions in the near future.

The Monroe County Board of Education and Mary Persons High School Principal Jim Finch got high school seniors involved in Work Ready by making the assessment a mandatory part of the graduation process.

As a result of the combined programs, Monroe County residents earned 419 Work Ready Certificates, about 14 percent more than its goal. The county’s graduation rate increased from 67.3 to 75.9 percent during the certification process.

“From an economic development standpoint, becoming a Certified Work Ready Community is a powerful tool for us,” said Andrews. “The statistics on the community’s workforce provided by Work Ready are things we can share with prospects.”

For more information, contact the chamber at 478-994-9239.

Original Article