Certification program to strengthen district’s role in local workforce development

Bulloch County Schools has been accepted by the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) into the state’s 2021-2022 Economic Development Partnership (EDP) Designation program. The EDP is a district-wide certification process that prepares school districts to adopt best practices and behaviors that support economic development, strengthen their programs, and align education with key regional industries. 

“It is an honor to be accepted into the 2021-2022 Economic Development Partnership Designation program,” said Dr. Julie Chance, executive director of Program Improvement for Bulloch County Schools. “We want to thank the Development Authority of Bulloch County and Great Dane for representing our economic development and business and industry stakeholders during our application process. These strong partnerships are reflective of our ongoing collaboration to prepare our students for successful careers and to build an educated, skilled, and efficient workforce for economic growth in Bulloch County.”

In terms of economic development, the EDP elevates the capability of school systems, like Bulloch, to fill a key role in business recruitment and expansion and talent development for their communities. Chance, along with Bethany Gilliam, the school district’s director of Career Technical and Agricultural Education (CTAE), will partner with local business and industry and economic development stakeholders to work towards achieving the EDP designation. 

To achieve the EDP designation, school districts must meet required elements that include a focus on business and industry partnerships, strength of local CTAE program offerings for students, and the school district’s economic development related activities. Chance, Gilliam, and other key district leaders will work with GaDOE representatives throughout the next fiscal year on their journey to achieve full designation as an EDP district. The state will announce successful recipients in summer 2022.  

Dr. Barbara Wall, director of CTAE for the state, is excited about this year’s EDP program. In a written statement provided by the GaDOE she stated, “The  Economic Development Partnership (EDP) designation supports a school district’s ability to  contribute effectively to their local and regional workforce development efforts. The EDP enables school districts to align their CTAE programs with the needs of their local labor market. Fostering a strong relationship between education, business and industry, and  economic development stakeholders ensures that we continue to offer high-quality industry relevant CTAE programs that are equitable for all students and are supportive of local talent pipeline development for both now and in the future. I am very proud of the districts that applied and have been accepted into the program for this year. Our team looks forward to  working alongside them on their journey to  achieve the EDP”.  

Bulloch County Schools’ CTAE program helps prepare students for their next steps after high school, whether that be college enrollment, enlistment in a branch of our nation’s military, or employment in an in-demand, high-wage career. The school district’s state-approved career pathway courses leverage partnerships with industry and higher education to ensure students acquire skills needed for immediate and future employment. Bulloch County Schools’ CTAE program offers students courses in 13 different career clusters and 23 high school career pathways and three middle school career pathways. Work Based Learning opportunities are also offered for students at all three of the school district’s high schools.