Ines Owens, Director

Elisabeth Fletcher, Communications Specialist



Sen. Tillery Quarterly Update: Creating a 21st Century Workforce

By: Sen. Blake Tillery (R – Vidalia)

The last quarter of 2019 has certainly been full of hustle and bustle.  You’ve likely already heard of the major employment announcement in Telfair County- the Guidoni Group, a Brazilian company, will bring 455 jobs and a $96 million investment to the space formerly occupied by the Husqvarna plant.  Several other economic projects are in local pipelines and I’m very proud of the team effort our local communities have made toward creating jobs here at home.

While we’re seeing success, the item that has single-handedly limited more success is our local workforce.  Simply put, we don’t have enough workers. Our local Career, Technical, and Agricultural Educational programs (CTAE) and technical college programs have been working hard to fill this void.   I’ve been traveling the state to see how other communities are filling this void and some of the findings have been interesting.

One middle Georgia community our size has its high school students taking YouScience tests and matching the results with local industry. YouScience is a computer-based test which the State of Georgia owns licenses.  The test takes about 4 hours to take.  The test takes a high school student’s interests and abilities and matches these with skills necessary for jobs in the workforce. (I took the test myself to understand it better.  Apparently, I should have been a construction project manager!)

A counselor in another part of Georgia took the step of getting at-risk student’s parents involved after seeing the results of their student’s YouScience tests.  The parents and counselor toured local manufacturing facilities, discussed starting salaries and benefits then presented all this information to the students.  The result was placement of 100% of the targeted students in a job at graduation.  Local businesses loved the help finding labor. In fact, some of the parents were so impressed, they wanted to apply for the job openings too!

This is just one example of ways communities are creatively tackling workforce needs.  Many of our local schools are tackling this need through other outside-the-box measures, including mentoring, internships, and CTAE experiences.  I know Toombs County Schools is using the YouScience program.  I’m sure others are too.  I look forward to sharing what I’ve seen with our local education leaders.

In closing, I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a start to 2020.  May we never forget the reason for this season and may your homes be full of joy and love during this time.  If you have any questions about the topic mentioned above or other items we may face in the 2020 session, please don’t hesitate to call.  My cell number is still (912) 245-9915.  Thank you for the opportunity to represent you in the Georgia Senate.

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Sen. Blake Tillery represents the 19th Senate District, which includes Appling, Jeff Davis, Long, Montgomery, Telfair, Toombs, Treutlen, Wayne, and Wheeler counties and a portion of Liberty and Tattnall counties.  He can be reached at 404.656.0089 or by email at