More than 20 industries are looking to locate or relocate to Newton County, and officials hope that means bright economic times are ahead.
Hunter Hall, the president of the Covington-Newton County Chamber of Commerce, told the board of commissioners at their Tuesday meeting that there are currently 21 industries looking at Newton County as a prospect for their companies. He said the projects could employ anywhere from 35 to 900 people.
"[The projects] are actively being worked on; some a little bit more actively than others. Some we're jumping through hoops on daily and some we're waiting to get response from," Hall said. "We're currently averaging from one to two requests for proposals a week. So the activity is very strong."
Hall said after the announcement of Baxter, a company out of California contacted the chamber and said they were also interested in coming to the county. The company will be back for a second visit in the next week to 10 days. In addition, Hall said the Medical College of Georgia has approached his office and wants to create a life science corridor on I-20.
Hall said Shannon Davis, the Director of Business Retention and Expansion, has been working with the College Career Academy in developing two pilot programs. He said the first program is an apprenticeship program that will work with C.R. Bard and SKC industries.
"This is a very intense apprenticeship plan," Hall said. "[Students] would do a two-year apprenticeship with these two industries their junior and senior year."
"The effort on that is multiple. One is obviously to keep out brightest and best local. The second is to help create a pipeline for these industries so that when C.R. Bard is looking for engineers with specific skill sets, they can train them in their own ways within their own culture," he said. "That [program] will be starting here in the near future."
The second program is a summer internship program. Hall said this program will be for teachers and students.
"We're trying to bridge the disconnect from what teachers are actually teaching and what industries saying they need," he said.
Hall also mentioned that the chamber will host a job fair boot camp in partnership with the Georgia Department of Labor on October 2. He said the boot camp will offer training in resume writing, professionalism and show individuals how to dress for interviews. Hall said people who participate in the boot camp will receive a certificate and gain early access to the job fair on Oct. 4 at Georgia Piedmont Technical College. He said those interested can contact the chamber at (770) 786-7510 for more information.