Snapping Shoals donates $10,000 to Chamber

COVINGTON - Snapping Shoals EMC has donated $10,000 to the Covington-Newton County Chamber of Commerce to support work force development.

According to Shannon Davis, economic development director for the Chamber, the donation will benefit several projects.

The first is Industry Senior Leadership Day, an event the Chamber will host in the fall for heads of existing local industries. Industry representatives will take a tour of the community and have lunch with their peers and local leaders and learn about upcoming growth initiatives.

Second, the money will go to support a proposed career academy for high schoolers, a project being undertaken by the Newton County School System. The school will focus on students interested in technical careers, with the aim of making them work force ready by graduation.

Finally, the funds will also support ongoing work force development initiatives, such as the Georgia Work Ready program.

Newton County and Covington will soon be certified as a Work Ready Community through the initiative, sponsored by the governor's office. Through the program, prospective employees can be tested in several areas, such as reading and math, to become work ready certified and prove their qualifications to employers. DeKalb Technical College will assist with administering the tests.

Davis said being certified through the program can give job seekers a leg up in today's tough job market.

"These unclaimed capital credit funds from Snapping Shoals are critical to the Chamber's economic development efforts," Chamber President John Boothby said. "Though we contract with the city and county to provide economic development marketing, the budget the Chamber receives doesn't allow us to operate at a level that a lot of our competing counties do. The Snapping Shoals partnership has allowed us to host a Developer's Day in 2007, an (economic development) education for elected officials in Atlanta in 2008 and now to provide for the existing industry and work force development programs in 2009. None of that would have been possible were it not for the support and partnership with Snapping Shoals."

The donation is from the electric membership cooperative's unclaimed capital credits funds.

Capital credits are revenues above the cost of providing service to customers/owners of the co-op after financial obligations have been met, and are required by lending institutions to establish credit for loans.

Snapping Shoals refunds capital credits to members when its Board of Directors determines it is appropriate. Legislation passed in 2005 allows EMCs to retain certain unclaimed capital credits for local use rather than turning them over to the state.

"Snapping Shoals EMC is very supportive of community and economic development in the areas we serve because we believe it is essential to positive growth," said Danny Stone, manager of economic development for Snapping Shoals.