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Georgia lawmakers sign off on workforce measures before sessions end

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(The Center Square) — Before wrapping up their latest legislative session last month, Georgia lawmakers passed several measures that proponents say will strengthen the state’s workforce.

House Bill 880 allows military members’ spouses to use an existing license from a professional licensing board issued in another state or United States territory in Georgia if it is in good standing. Several states have taken a similar approach as communities grapple with a lingering labor shortage.

HB 282, the “Quality Basic Education Act,” requires the State Board of Education to “prescribe a minimum course” of career readiness training for students in the sixth through 12th grades. This approach includes instruction and training experiences concentrated on career readiness skills and “employability.”

“Right now, you have to go through red tape; school systems must go through red tape to have access to the curriculum,” state Rep. Mesha Mainor, R-Atlanta, said from the House floor before the measure’s passage. “This simply removes the red tape, and any school district within the state of Georgia can now use this free soft skills career readiness curriculum training in their school.”

HB 982 requires the State Workforce Development Board to publish a “High-Demand Career List” annually. The list should identify the “most critical” careers to the state’s workforce needs.

“Our small business members say finding and keeping good workers is one of their greatest challenges, but these initiatives should make it easier for more people to enter the workforce,” National Federation of Independent Business State Director Hunter Loggins said in a statement.

The measures head to Republican Gov. Brian Kemp for his consideration.