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Advocate pushes for stronger workforce in Coweta

Educators and business people from Coweta County and the region met Nov. 20 to hear from Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education (GPEE) President Steve Dolinger on the need of businesses and the community to build a strong workforce and strengthen the local economy.

“Stronger education leads to a stronger workforce,” Dolinger said, noting the ongoing work of GPEE with local chambers of commerce across the state.

The audience got a look at where Coweta stands in a number of categories focusing on factors such as high school graduation rates and teen unemployment rates.

A component of the meeting dealt with the impact of poverty on future learning and earnings. Statewide for children under age six, 45 percent of those children live in low-income households. And in terms of a correlation between poverty rates and parental education, 56 percent of children living in poverty statewide live in homes where the parent has less than a high school education.

In terms of future earnings, Dolinger said unemployment statistics in Georgia during August showed a 3.5 percent jobless rate for those with a bachelor degree or higher compared to a jobless rate of 11.3 percent for those with no high school diploma. The unemployment rate for those with a high school diploma was 7.6 percent while the rate for those with some college was 6.1 percent, Dolinger said.

The high school graduation rate in Coweta County stood at 74.9 percent in 2011 and rose to 79.7 percent in 2012, Dolinger said.

Those attending the meeting received other statistics specific to Coweta County. One of those pertained to teen birth rates. Based on rates per 1,000 births, Coweta had 47 in 2007 and in 2008, but in 2009 that number dropped to 34, then declined to 30 in 2010 and rose to 34 in 2011.

Looking at the percentage of teens not in school or working, Coweta’s rate stood at approximately 10 percent in 2005-2009. That percentage decreased to approximately 9 percent in 2006-2011 and declined further to approximately 8.2 percent in 2007-2011.

A review of two academic areas showed 95 percent of Coweta 3rd grade students meeting or exceeding state reading standards while approximately 90 percent of Coweta’s 8th grade students met or exceeded the math standards.

The meeting was held at The Centre for Performing and Visual Arts in Newnan.


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