Jackson said if the U.S. is going to compete in the global marketplace it has to have a workforce that can fulfill increasingly technologically based needs.
“We’ve been pretty successful at that so far and we’re going to continue to work hard to be right in the center lane of making that happen,” Jackson said.
“I think the strength of the Technical College System is we work so closely with the businesses in every community that we serve,” Jackson said. “It really keeps us and the technical colleges on the cutting edge of what the workforce and workplace has to be for today’s world.”
Jackson told Rome industry leaders that the workplace is more different today than it was.
“Even the traditional trades. A person working on you air conditioning system in your home right now is nothing like the guy that worked even 15 years ago,” Jackson said.
He stressed that workforce development would remain a focus for the technical college system.
In other business, Diane Lewis handed over the post as chairman of the Greater Rome Existing Industries Association to Gary Downey of Bekaert Corp. Gary Majestic of Commercial Fluid Power assumed the role as president of GREIA, while Cathy Kerce of JEM Manufacturing ascended to the vice presidency of the existing industries group.
Downey said one of the first priorities for his term is getting more industries involved in the association.
“We’ve got a good group, it’s usually the same group that meets all the time, we need to bring some new folks in,” Downey said.
The Bekaert plant manager said that getting local industries signed up for the tax exemption for energy consumption is also a major priority.
“I think that GREIA made significant progress this year in raising the awareness that our manufacturing community is in desperate need of skilled labor,” Lewis said. “The job fair that we did in June was obviously the highlight public event of that, but there was a lot of work that happened behind the scenes both before and after.”