PRESS RELEASE: New GBPI Report Outlines How Georgia Can Improve Economic Opportunity by Expanding Access to Higher Education and Workforce Training

PRESS RELEASE:  New GBPI Report Outlines How Georgia Can Improve Economic Opportunity by Expanding Access to Higher Education and Workforce Training

ATLANTA, GEORGIA — Last week, the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute (GBPI) released a new report that examines how Georgia can improve economic opportunity by expanding access to higher education.  This is the first publication in GBPI’s new ‘From Barriers to Bridges’ report series, focusing on a layered selection of unaddressed barriers to economic security. This first report centers on occupational segregation as a primary barrier between Georgians and quality jobs and the role of higher education as a bridge to those quality jobs.

Occupational segregation is the overrepresentation or underrepresentation of a demographic group in a job category. This exclusion harms individuals and families by limiting economic opportunity and adaptability in Georgia’s labor force.

“Lawmakers often boast that Georgia is the number one place to do business, yet the state is falling short of addressing the needs of its next generation of Georgians by allowing obstacles to remain in place that limit their access to a quality education. These barriers exacerbate economic inequality in our state and further limit job prospects for Georgians with low incomes,” said Staci Fox, GBPI President and CEO. To reduce occupational segregation and improve workforce outcomes in Georgia, bold steps must be taken to ensure the postsecondary education system serves as a bridge to quality jobs. The state can start by narrowing the occupational segregation gap and supporting higher education through digital skills, quality school counseling and college affordability.”

GBPI recommends the following policy changes to enhance economic opportunities for Georgians:

  • Increase Access to Digital Skills: Policymakers should Invest in a comprehensive, racial equity-centered plan to track and address digital skills gaps and track workforce training program-level outcomes under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).
  • Increase Funding for Quality School Counseling: Georgia legislators should increase funding for student support services to lower the student-to-counselor ratio and recruit and retain college and career preparation professionals to assist students after graduation. In districts with a high population of students of color and students who are economically disadvantaged, lawmakers have the most room for improvement.
  • Make Higher Education More Affordable: Georgia lawmakers should consider multiple funding sources, including the general fund and state lottery reserves, to fully fund a comprehensive need-based financial aid program that mitigates the harms caused by decades of discrimination in higher education and counterbalances racial inequities in both the HOPE and Zell Miller Scholarships.

Click HERE to read the full report.

About GBPI:

The Georgia Budget and Policy Institute (GBPI) strives to be an anti-racist research and advocacy organization that advances lasting solutions to expand economic opportunity and well-being for all Georgians. We examine the state’s budget, taxes and public policies to provide thoughtful analysis and responsible solutions that address inequities in our state. We educate the public about complex issues confronting Georgia. We activate Georgians to call for policy solutions that put people first. We aim to inspire informed debate and decision-making, advancing our vision of a fair and inclusive Georgia where everyone can prosper. 


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