Georgia County Government - Fall 2015 - (Page 48)

economIcs oF educAtIon Education and Economic Development Go HAnd-in-HAnd By Bill Maddox Communications Director, Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education in eArLy 2004, the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education with the support of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, rolled out a new program designed to prove the inextricable link between a state or community's education system and its economic prosperity. At that time, Georgia's public schools were near the bottom of the barrel in almost all strategic indicators and the time was long overdue to move our state forward. Using the Georgia Southern University report "The Economic Impact of High School Non-completion in Georgia, August 2003" as a starting point, the Economics of Education briefing and publication were born. The presentation's debut came in March 2004 to an Atlanta audience of government, business, education and civic leaders. The program struck a nerve and filled a need. Eleven years and almost 300 briefings later, audiences across Georgia are still anxious to learn about their education systems and how they can work together to make them better. Is anything more important than economic development? Tom Upchurch, president emeritus of the Georgia Partnership gave one of the most recent briefings at the Region 5 Academy for Economic Development. In that presentation, as in others, Upchurch hammered home a key point, "Education is the most valuable tool in economic development." What does the "Economics of Education" mean? Here's how one county commission chairman defines it. "The term is synonymous 48 GeorGiA County Government to being a community with a higher earning power," explained Elbert County Chairman Tommy Lyon.. "It means a community that has all amenities a community would desire. It means safer neighborhoods and better service from local governments." In discussing the community value of an educated populace, Lyon explained, "Economic development for a community is directly related to the educational reputation of the community. The new jobs that are created in today's world require a higher education than a high school diploma." He added, "Higher- skilled citizens means higher income and a better quality of life." Lyon emphasized that learning never ends, "No one is ever too old or too smart to learn." The chairman represents rural Elbert County which faces many different education issues than bigger communities but one thing is the same for all - the better the education system the more opportunity for growth and prosperity. It takes leaders who understand that and are willing to take the right steps to ensure that happens Elbert County did just that in 2005 after an Economics of Education presentation to community leaders. They knew they had to take action to improve their public education system. They asked the Georgia Partnership to facilitate a program that would guide them. Laura Evans, Executive Director of the Community Partnership of Elbert County chaired the community planning effort. "We wanted the community, businesses specifically, to understand the connection between the success of our students and their future impact on our economy," she explained. She added, "There is a much better understanding [in our community] now that economic development is not just about getting industry to locate in your community but involves making sure our community has a qualified workforce too." She assigns at least partial credit to the effort for improving school attendance and graduation rates. Other communities followed Elbert County's bold lead and asked the Georgia Partnership to facilitate similar efforts. Troup, Forsyth, Bulloch and Butts counties assembled leaders from across the community to examine their education systems. Each pledged to improve them and get on the road of continuous, sustained improvement. All continue to make advances.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia County Government - Fall 2015

President’s Message
Director’s Desk
Putting the Private Sector to Work for Georgia’s Counties
Military Partnerships with Georgia Counties a Win-Win
Georgia Helps Itself: The Efforts to Provide Funding Alternatives
A New Direction
Rebounding Economy Leads to Reform in Property Tax Law
The Crisis on our Roads: Turning the Tide on Surge in Georgia Traffic Deaths
2015 Legislative Service Award Recipients
Education and Economic Development Go Hand-in-Hand
County Collaborations with Local Schools Save Money, Improve Efficiency
Georgia’s Technical Colleges: Where Business and Education Intersect
Welcome to 191 Peachtree, ACC G's New Home
Georgia County Internship Program: Summer Success Stories
ACCG Heads to Jekyll Island for the Legislative Leadership Conference
Conference Agenda
I, You, Me, and We
Reducing In-the-Line-of Duty Deaths with Below 100 Train the Trainer
“Her Majesty” Instills Valuable Lessons: Lessons learned from the Hancock County Courthouse Fire
Thank You to our Partners
Why Can’t We Just Keep It All? The Case for Records & Information Management
Social Media and the Dog Tags
News & Notes
Index of Advertisers

Georgia County Government - Fall 2015