Originally created 12/02/05

Quick Start earns kudos



ATLANTA - Georgia's approach to employee preparation is receiving attention from more than just manufacturing leaders.

Expansion Management magazine, a monthly publication for company executives looking for places to expand their operations, gave Georgia's Quick Start program top billing in the country in its annual survey of work force training programs.

The survey was based on a poll of 80 site location consultants, the people hired to help companies decide where to put new facilities.

Quick Start, which provides customized training to new and expanding companies through the state's 34 technical colleges, is typically free to new and expanding companies and has become an important part of the state's arsenal to attract employers.

Along with traditional tax credits for creating jobs and other breaks, the state offers to create a training program that will help companies cut down on upfront costs to open a new facility.

Quick Start officials typically check out a company's process, as it will be implemented at a new facility, and the skills that will be required for the new jobs to put together a training program.

"It's one of the most important things when we talk to a new company," said Chris Clark, the deputy commissioner for global commerce at the state Department of Economic Development. "Eighty percent of the prospects (we) meet with mention Quick Start."

The fact that the tailor-made training is offered free and helps the company save substantially on start-up costs doesn't hurt either, Mr. Clark said.

This year, the state's budget for Quick Start is $12.2 million.

In 2005, the program resulted in training for 283 projects, the majority of them outside the metro Atlanta area.