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Georgia governor signs workforce development bills


(The Center Square) — Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed a series of bills aimed at growing the state’s workforce, including measures aimed at making it easier for Georgians to get occupational licenses and job training.

“As our state continues to grow, measures like this will help us stay ahead of the curve and cut red tape,” Kemp said during a bill signing at the Jordan Vocational High School in Columbus.

“…Make no mistake, we are not done yet,” the governor added. “We’ll continue preparing Georgians for new opportunities, and we’ll continue to keep our state the best place to live, work and raise a family.”

House Bill 970 updates the Realizing Educational Achievement Can Happen Scholarship to make victims of human trafficking eligible and changes how many REACH Scholars school systems can designate. The state will kick in $9,000 for each $10,000 scholarship, while the participating school system will fund the remaining $1,000.

HB 982 directs the State Workforce Development Board to create the state’s high-demand career list, effectively eliminating several existing lists to stem confusion.

Senate Bill 440 updates the Accelerated Career Diploma Program, allowing students to receive more than 30 credit hours of dual enrollment funding.

SB 497 redesignates the High-Demand Career Initiatives Program as the High Demand Apprenticeship Program, increasing the number of allowed apprenticeships and reducing contract awards from $10,000 to $5,000 per apprentice. It also directs the Technical College System of Georgia to create a pilot public service apprenticeship program.

SB 384 will develop and administer a state Model Employer Program, focusing on recruiting and retaining people with disabilities within state agencies.

SB 354 removes makeup application, blow-dry styling and hair washing from the list of cosmetic services that require state licenses. However, it does not pertain to services that change hair’s color or structure.

Under SB 373, the Board of Marriage and Family Therapists must issue an “expedited license by endorsement” to anyone who moves to the Peach State and a current license to practice and is in good standing with that state.

SB 195, the “Freedom to Work Act” or the “Social Work Licensure Compact Act,” makes Georgia part of the Social Work Licensing Compact, the third state to join. It will streamline the interstate practice of social work services and will take effect once seven states have joined.