(Calhoun, Ga.) — On Thursday, July 26, Gordon Hospital hosted their annual Back to School Blast event for all local public, private, and homeschool students in grades Pre-K through 12 at the Sonoraville Recreation Complex.
More than 650 students who attended the event received backpacks along with other essential school supplies and health information.
"Back to School Blast is always one of our biggest and best events," said Kaylee Landress-Gibson, marketing communications lead for Gordon Hospital. "It's one way we are able to extend our mission outside of the hospital."
Organizations who participated in the event include: Council on Alcohol and Drugs, Family Connection of Gordon County, Gordon Hospital Emergency Department, Gordon Hospital Sleep Center, Gordon Hospital Center for Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine, Workout Anytime, Northwest Georgia Council, Boy Scouts of America, Gordon Urgent Care, Calhoun Elkettes, Amerigroup, Synovus, Kelly Educational Staffing, Gordon County 4-H, Gordon Home Care, Gordon County Fire & Rescue, Gordon County
CareSource, Gordon Hospital Spiritual Care, Hair Connection Cartersville, Northwest Georgia Regional Cancer Coalition, Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta, Northwest Georgia Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, Gordon Hospital Internal and Family Medicine, WellCare, Right From the Start Medical Assistance Group, Peach State Health Plan, Gordon County Department of Family and Children Services, Gordon Adult and Pediatric Medical Associates, Gordon County Schools, Northwest Georgia Women's Care, Gordon Hospital Owasa Family Medicine, Gordon Hospital Nutritional Services, Gordon Primary Care, Gordon Hospital Cancer Care, CREATION Health, Gordon Ear, Nose & Throat, Gordon Cardiology, Gordon County Domestic Violence Outreach Office, Great Clips of Calhoun, SEO's Martial Arts, and Calhoun Outlet Marketplace.
About Gordon Hospital
Founded in 1935, Gordon Hospital is proud to be a member of Adventist Health System. With a sacred mission of extending the healing ministry of Christ, Adventist Health System (AHS) is a connected system of care for every stage of life and health. More than 80,000 skilled and compassionate caregivers in physician practices, hospitals, outpatient clinics, skilled nursing facilities, home health agencies, and hospice centers provide individualized, wholistic care.
Chris Clark, president and CEO of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, spoke at the annual State of Industry event last Friday, July 27, and encouraged local business leaders to plan for an ever-changing world in the next 10 years, laying out a forecast for Gordon County and how to attract, and retain, job talent that will be vital to economic and community growth.
Clark began by pointing out the current and projected conditions of Gordon County as reported by the Economic Innovation Group, analysts who looks at eight different criteria of every county in the United States to get a sense of whether a county is growing or stagnant. The group looks at criteria such as population, job growth, poverty rates, number of students graduating from school and housing rates and puts counties into three levels: distressed, borderline distressed and prosperous.
"Nationwide, 20 percent of all counties in America are in distress today. In the state of Georgia, 53 percent of our counties are distressed."
Clark explained that distressed counties will see a trend of job loss, people leaving the community and high poverty rates. Prosperous communities have high levels of new jobs and people moving into the communities. Gordon County, at this time, falls into the middle category of borderline.
Clark said that for places like Gordon County to have a prosperous future, there needs to be systemic issues addressed in the community.
"Things (in Gordon County) are better than your neighbors (at this time); you enjoy your community," said Clark. "But the economy is changing rapidly, economic development is changing and business is changing. So the decision needs to be made, are we happy with where we are or are we going to continue to grow?"
Clark explained that over the next 8 - 10 years, while Gordon County is projected to have a little bit of population growth, there is a projected net job loss for the area.
"That's a key word, projecting," said Clark. "That can change if you address the issues."
Clark said that the mantra in job growth has shifted over the last five years from location to talent.
"The number one thing businesses are looking for is talent," said Clark. "Do you have the kids, do you have the generation of workers, can you recruit them to your community? It's all about talent. If we don't have the population, we don't have the talent."
Clark said that in the next 8 years, Georgia will have 1.4 million job openings, on top of what is out there today. In Gordon County, there will be just under 1,000 new jobs created, but 11,000 people are expected to retire in the same time frame, pointing out that Gordon County needs to begin planning now to fill those jobs by attracting talent.
Clark told the audience that some of
the concerns he sees now, using statistics, are that 68 percent of Gordon County third graders can't read at grade level, 23 percent of Gordon County kids live in poverty and only 50 percent of Gordon County students enroll in postsecondary education.
"If you know that 68 percent of your kids can't read at third grade, that needs to be the biggest issue this county deals with. If I can't read at a third grade reading level, there's no way I can be the entrepreneur that I need to be long term. If your kids are living in poverty, that's your future workforce. You need to start thinking of those kids differently. You need to make sure they have the skills for the talent that you need long-term. And those 50 percent of kids you are graduating out of your school systems are not going on to get the training they need for the jobs of the future. These are the issues we are dealing with. We have to do a better job of preparing these kids."
Clark then laid out some solutions, a Talent Agenda, to train those in the community for the jobs and to attract additional talent.
"My goal is for every Chamber in every community in Georgia to have a Talent Agenda that they treat with as much importance as they do their economic development; these have to go hand in hand," said Clark.
Clark told the audience to make sure the talent is aligned. "Make sure that the kids you are training, the students you have, are aligned with the jobs you are going to have in the future of your community," said Clark.
Another solution from Clark was to make sure to access the talent already in the community, suggesting to utilize the faith community with training help and additional social services for support.
Clark also said that Gordon County has to be able to attract talent with things such as housing, diversity, amenities, infrastructure and healthcare. "You have to provide a place to live, work, play and pray," said Clark. "We've got to make sure our communities are attractive to Millennials and Generation Z. It's not about you anymore; it's about the next generation of talent and what you need to do to get them to want to live here."
Cultivating talent by aligning the curriculum with the local market was another suggestion from Clark, providing equal access and support to training, updating school finance models and providing apprenticeship and internship programs.
"What we are seeing in successful communities is more diversified and personalized education," said Clark.
Finally, Clark suggested making sure talent has future skills, things such as life skills, cultural intelligence, and an entrepreneurial mindset.
"At the end of the day, as a community, you have to realize these challenges, you have to realize how quickly the world is changing and be ready to address, not just your growing senior population, but how you are going to take care of them, take care of your existing industry to replace those jobs and have a community that is attractive and prepared for all of these roles."
Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said Thursday that the Gordon County labor force jumped in June as summer job seekers hit the market.
With the labor force growing faster than could be absorbed through hiring, the unemployment rate also ticked up for the month.
Still, most indicators remain positive for the year.
The commissioner explained that despite an increase in the unemployment rate, he remains confident about the overall job market.
"The Georgia job market is very strong," said Butler. "An increase in the unemployment rate is common this time of year due to an increase in high school and college graduates entering the workforce."
The Gordon County labor force ended June at 27,266, up 608 over the last year. That number is up 156 over the last month, about three times the monthly average increase over the year.
As a result of this spike in the labor force, the unemployment rate in Gordon County increased by .8 percent to 4.1 percent. It was 4.8 percent a year ago.
The number of employed residents in the region fell to 26,152, down 54 from the previous month. The area remains up 786 for the year.
In Gordon County, initial claims for unemployment were down about 17 percent for the month but up about 23 percent for the year.
Employ Georgia, the GDOL's online job listing service at employgeorgia.com showed 251 active job postings in Gordon County for June.
Visit dol.georgia.gov to learn more about career opportunities, Employ Georgia and other GDOL services for job seekers and employers and to connect with us on social media.
Saturday, August 4
• Calhoun's Got Talent: 7 p.m. at Harris Arts Center This is the final round! Tickets are $20. For Tickets & More Info: www.harrisartscenter.com
• A Jimmy Buffet Tribute featuring Caribbean Steel & Thunderbolt Patterson. 8 p.m. GEM Theatre Tickets are $22, $20, $18 and all proceeds benefit the Tiny Homes Project of Gordon County. www.calhoungemtheatre.org
Mondays & Thursdays, June - September
• Farmers Market at Calhoun Depot. Mondays 10 a.m. - 2 p.m./Thursdays 8:30 a.m. - Sell Out. Shop locally grown fresh produce. The market will continue each week through September. More Info: www.facebook.com/downtowncalhounfarmersmarket
Coming Soon ~ Register Now:
• August 10 - Toddler Friday at Harris Arts Center - www.harrisartscenter.com
• August 11 - Gordon Optimist Club's Sarah Williams Memorial Mud Volleyball Tournament - firstname.lastname@example.org
• August 11 - NERA Paddle - Etowah River - www.paddlenera.com
• August 17 - Resurrection Journey Tribute Band at GEM - www.calhoungemtheatre.org
• August 18 - Glen Templeton at GEM - www.calhoungemtheatre.org
• August 18 - Calhoun Little Theatre Season Announcement Gala - www.harrisartscenter.com
• August 24 - Food Trucks & Friends at Calhoun Depot ~ www.facebook.com/events/1770509413039469/