Thursday, September 6, 2012
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COVINGTON -- There are 21 industries looking at Newton County as a potential location or relocation site, according to Hunter Hall, president of the Covington-Newton County Chamber of Commerce. Those industries employ or would employ between 35 and 900 people.
Requests for proposals to the Chamber are coming in at an average of one to two a week, Hall reported to the Newton County Board of Commissioners Tuesday evening.
He said a company out of California is coming back for a second visit in the next week to 10 days. He also said the Medical College of Georgia has proposed creating a "life science corridor" along I-20 in the wake of the Baxter International announcement.
The Chamber is also currently developing two pilot programs. One would involve partnerships with local industries C.R. Bard and SKC and the Newton College and Career Academy. Students at the academy would be able to apply for two-year apprenticeships with those industries their junior and senior years. The goal of the pilot program "is to keep our brightest and best local" and to also "create a pipeline with industries. So when C.R. Bard is looking for engineers with specific skill sets they can train them their own ways within their own culture."
Shannon Davis, director of business retention and expansion, said in a follow-up interview Wednesday that the pilot program is in the very preliminary stages. It is proposed to take effect during the 2013/2014 school year, with students likely being awarded the apprenticeships by the end of this school year.
Hall said there is also a pilot program in development with the College and Career Academy that would involve a summer internship program for students and teachers to "bridge the disconnect from what teachers are teaching and industries are saying they need."
Davis said she does not have additional details about the program at this time.