GCSU’s new workforce readiness program will prep high schoolers for local jobs

GCSU’s new workforce readiness program will prep high schoolers for local jobs

In the Middle Ages, youth were matched with master craftsmen through apprenticeships. Employers received inexpensive labor, while molding and training an upcoming workforce.

Similarly, Georgia College & State University, in collaboration with the Milledgeville-Baldwin County Chamber of Commerce, is launching a new Workforce Readiness Program. It will connect businesses with high school seniors who want to stay in Milledgeville and find local employment.

A Zoom information session for business owners to learn about the program will be at noon Wednesday, Feb. 7. 

“If you’re a high school student standing at the intersection of 441 looking down Columbia Street, what do you see as a job opportunity? Running a cash register and selling fries, right? Milledgeville is so much more than that,” said Angela Criscoe, executive director of the School of Continuing and Professional Studies at Georgia College.

“We want to match a high school student who wants to stay here in Milledgeville with businesses seeking quality talent. We want to help build a workforce pipeline for local businesses so they can train and mold workers for jobs they need to fill.”

The program runs June 3 to July 26 with the ultimate goal of students getting permanent jobs.

Participants are nominated for the program by their Baldwin County High School counselors.

At a career fair April 9, students will get an idea of the types of jobs available this summer. Local business owners will interview candidates at the fair and, soon after, a committee will determine best matches.

“Sometimes, young employees lack proper job etiquette,” Criscoe said. “They don’t always have good customer service skills yet or understand how to form relationships with clientele. That’s why our program starts with a week of education at Georgia College.”

Students will receive instruction from Georgia’s Best Workforce curriculum. They’ll do team-building activities, listen to guest speakers about leadership and meet local business owners. Then, students will have the opportunity to work four weeks for a local business, earning a minimum of $8 an hour. They might work on an assembly line or in human resources. There could be jobs in healthcare, city government, retail, construction, transportation and media groups.

During that time, students will receive valuable coaching, training and job skills—making them stronger candidates for future, full-time employment.

Businesses benefit too with a pool of already-trained job applicants to choose from.

To participate, businesses must commit by March 15. There is a commitment fee of $200 that pays for student instruction and an award ceremony at summer’s end.

Students will receive a certificate of completion, showing they are workforce ready.

“This is a collaborative effort to connect people,” Criscoe said. “This program will develop our youth to be better workers, better thinkers and better citizens. This will help our community grow.”

“If we can fill jobs with quality talent, by growing and developing our own workforce,” she added, “we’re going to have a stronger, local workforce environment.”

Business owners can register for the free, Zoom information session here.

Updated: 2024-02-05
Angela Criscoe
(478) 445-2759