Georgia Chamber Holds Virtual Webinar on Maximizing Global Talent to Address Labor Needs, Spark Economic Growth
Tuesday, December 7th, 2021
On Wednesday, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce hosted a virtual webinar titled, "Georgia's New Economic Growth Strategy: Maximizing Global Talent" on the importance of utilizing the state's diverse immigrant population to increase workforce participation and economic contributions. Georgia currently has record low unemployment, yet employers in every industry across the state have ample job openings and our state's labor force participation has declined in recent years. In order to address this critical issue, lawmakers at both the state and federal level are considering reforms to alleviate some of the workforce shortages by removing barriers to employment for new Georgians.
“Here at the Georgia Chamber, we are acutely aware of the economic impact of COVID-19, however, this pandemic only exacerbated the worker shortage and skills gap that industries have been battling for years. In order to grow the economy, we need to step back from the traditional way of thinking and implement creative solutions that spark workforce participation today while building a reliable talent pool for tomorrow. This includes tapping into the potential of the state's foreign-born population who are often sidelined due to regulatory barriers that limit their pursuit for higher education, technical training or even a low-wage job," stated Chris Clark, President & CEO of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce.
Other speakers in the virtual webinar included the Honorable Kasey Carpenter, Georgia House of Representatives — District 4, who has championed pro-growth immigration policies such as tuition equity for Georgia Dreamers so they can access in-state tuition rates in efforts to address the state's skills gap for labor shortage. Representatives from the state's key industries also participated, including Kevin Greiner, President and CEO of Gas South, who highlighted the importance of continuing education for employees and lowering the tuition barrier for DACA recipients, and Tripp Cofield, National Policy Counsel of the Georgia Farm Bureau, who touched on the need for federal reform to expand the agricultural labor force.
During the event Jaime Rangel, Georgia State Immigration Director for FWD.us, provided a state of play update as Congress continues to debate immigration relief as part of the Build Back Better Act, noting, "Immigration relief currently being debated in Congress would expand Georgia's economy by $561 million annually and increase tax contributions by $271 million each year, helping fund vital state programs such as education and infrastructure. However, this is just one step of many needed to reform immigration policy that opens doors for all to succeed. There is also action we can be taking at the state level to harness untapped potential. I look forward to continuing my work with leaders at the Georgia Chamber and in the state legislature to ensure future policies push our workforce and economy down a path of success."