Georgia 2030 Tour aims to help rural counties grow


PERRY, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Middle Georgia county leaders gathered at the 2030 Georgia Tour to learn how to improve their workforce. CEO of the Georgia Chamber, Chris Clark presented a study if counties don’t make any changes, and it got the attention of local leaders.

Job growth from 2010 to 2015 is at 9.6% in the state of Georgia. in rural areas, it’s about 3.6 %. In the next 10 years if everything were to remain the same, job growth drops to about 2% in both the state and rural areas. The Georgia Chamber wants to make sure that doesn’t happen.

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“As we move into this next decade, it’s not so much about location anymore, it’s about talent,” said Clark. “The communities that have talent, that have young workers, that can attract and have a great quality of life, those are the communities that are going to be successful.”

He shared a slideshow with statistics of Georgia’s economic growth.

“Fifty eight percent of our counties are in distress and a lot of that is because our young workers leave home because they don’t believe there’s opportunity there,” said Clark.

Clark says the first step in keeping young workers is to better their quality of life in their county.

“We want our communities in Middle Georgia to understand that, to do what we’re seeing in Downtown Macon,” said Clark. “To beautify, to have the right amenities, the right types of restaurants, because that’s going to drive economic growth in the future.”

Working together across county borders is what Clark also suggested. He says the region will be more successful if it comes together to address problems in different communities.

“Businesses, poverty, demographics, they don’t care where the county line is, they just care about solutions,” said Clark. “So I really encourage folks and leaders in the region to find at least find one project to work on together to build some success.”

He says it’s important to educate children on the opportunities that exist within the county. That’s part of the chamber’s goal with opening it’s new office in Tifton. They want to help drive talent into rural Georgia.