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Energy Forum Held at Plant Hatch

Area high school representatives joined instructors and staff from Okefenokee Technical College and Altamaha Technical College for an educator-industry meeting, May 6, 2009, at the Edwin I. Hatch Visitors Center in Baxley, Georgia. The meeting/workshop was sponsored by the Georgia Energy and Industrial Construction Consortium (GEICC). Participants learned about careers in energy and industrial construction and career paths available to area students.

The meeting included an Energy Forum in which representatives from the energy community shared their future workforce needs and the different career opportunities that exist in the energy industry. Panelists emphasized the need for employees with strong math and science skills.

The day was made possible by Georgia’s ENERGE (Engaged Networking Energy Regional Georgia Education) Grant. The grant focus is to promote career awareness and career opportunities in the energy industry.  Twenty-three programs are targeted at nine technical colleges across Georgia as training programs for energy industry labor pools. Okefenokee Technical College is one of the nine colleges selected as a recipient of the grant.

Forum presenters and panelists hope that participants will inform communities of the pending events that will create significant opportunities for individuals interested in a career in the energy industry. As they see it, due to an aging workforce and rising energy demands, the future holds energy workforce demands that far exceed supply.  One example that was shared from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics was that “more than half of today’s utility workforce will be eligible for retirement over the next 10 years.” According to panelists, working in the energy field provides life-long opportunities, good benefits, and a lucrative career versus a job.

Presenters included Debra Howell, GEICC Chairperson and Georgia Power representative; Sara Waters,  Jana Thomas, Rusty Belcher, and Andrew Bouldin  with Southern Nuclear; and a representative from Construction Education Foundation of Georgia (CEFGA).

OTC staff and area high school officials attended an educator-industry meeting May 6 at Plant Hatch. Those attending included (L to R) Tommy Peagler, Larry Godair, Dr. Steve Pearce, Pam Farr, Cindy Tanner, Dr. Melad Smith (Charlton), Deedee Thomas, Austin Johnson, Neal Murphy, Doug Furman, Dr. Darrell Boatright (Bacon), Charlie Gibson, Dr. Dan Taylor (Bacon), Jack Moye, Kate Bussey, Melvin Bratcher, Kevin Metts, Ryan Mock, and Kim Rimes (not shown).


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