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SEDA provides workforce organization update

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At the April 16, 2024 Savannah Economic Development Authority (SEDA) board of directors meeting staff gave an update on the naming and activities of the regional workforce organization that was announced in December 2023. The organization was a recommendation from the Regional Workforce Study released in November 2023.

The new organization will be called RISE, which stands for Regional Industry Support Enterprise. The organization will be governed by a to-be-named board of directors.

“The name reflects RISE’s mission to be the key facilitator of industry support services and workforce development in the Savannah region,” said RISE President and CEO Anna Chafin.

Chafin gave an update on the progress of the organization that included:

  • Creating the membership structure of the RISE organization, name and logo.
  • Identifying and meeting with representatives in each of the six working groups/focus areas: military, underrepresented, housing, education, transportation and marketing.
  • Meeting and/or presenting to 79 of organizations and groups in the region.
  • Continued meetings with industry representatives.

Chafin said, “In just a few short months we have made tremendous progress with working to stand up each of the six working groups and the employer forums and creating the structure of the organization as well as continuing to meet with companies to connect them to workforce resources and opportunities.”

Chafin gave an example of progress made related to the military working group. “In March we had a Military Partnership Summit where we were able to meet with key partners from Fort Stewart to discuss important topics such as how to better connect military spouses and dependents with jobs and how to communicate better with transitioning soldiers about opportunities that exist in the region, among others. We left that meeting with a lot of great action items.”

Additionally, Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bert Brantley was present to speak about the upcoming housing needs assessment that will be conducted by Georgia Tech’s Center for Economic Development Research.

“This partnership between the counties in our region and Savannah will provide planning departments a current and future housing analysis, helping us identify where the growth in housing will happen and the types of housing needed for the growing workforce. This will all help us plan properly,” said Brantley. The assessment is expected to be completed in four phases, with deliverables throughout this year and the final analysis delivered by December 2024.

Savannah Economic Development Authority President and CEO Trip Tollison said RISE is a proactive response to addressing the upcoming growth challenges. “The Regional Workforce Study showed us that if we did nothing, the region will be in a deficit of available workforce starting in 2025 so the creation of this organization is critical to meeting the future demands for workforce, housing, transportation and education.”

April 16, 2024