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First GeorgiaBEST certificates presented to GNTC Adult Education students

Release Date: February 12, 2015

SUMMERVILLE – State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler today presented certificates to the first students to complete the GeorgiaBEST program at Georgia Northwestern Technical College’s (GNTC) Adult Education program. GeorgiaBEST (Businesss Ethics Student Training) is the Georgia Department of Labor’s (GDOL) workplace soft skills initiative.

The ceremony was held at the Chattooga County Adult Education Center in Summerville.

“I’m pleased to present these certificates to Amber Danford and Cassie Rutledge, who are the first to complete GeorgiaBEST through a program affiliated with a state technical college,” said Butler. “What they’ve achieved will definitely improve their opportunities for success in life. And, with our continuing affiliation with Georgia Northwestern Technical College’s Adult Education program, many more students from this region will also get the opportunity to use GeorgiaBEST to improve their outlooks for success.”

Butler launched GeorgiaBEST in 2012 after talking with employers throughout the state who said that the lack of soft skills was one of the major problems they faced when recruiting and keeping good employees. A 2012 article in Forbes Magazine refers to research by Leadership IQ, a research and leadership training company, which shows when first-time hires fail, 89 percent of the time it’s because of attitudinal reasons.

“We are so proud of these two students who were awarded GeorgiaBEST certificates,” said Connie Smith, vice president of Adult Education at GNTC.  “They have demonstrated that they have the soft skills employers require to not only get a job, but to keep a job.  With the increased emphasis on college and career readiness, our students now understand that they need more than just the GED diploma.”

Both students said the Oral and Written Business Communication Skills was a favorite among the GeorgiaBEST modules. "I didn't give up and I didn’t give in,” declared Rutledge, of Summerville.  “I gave it all I've got for GeorgiaBEST. One of the skills I learned was the ‘mock interview,’ which will help me be more confident when I go on interviews." 

Danford, of Rome, said, “I feel GeorgiaBEST has helped prepare me for a future job.  It has given me skills, such as how to excel in a job interview, which will help me in my job search.  I am very proud to have completed the GeorgiaBEST program." 

After its 2012 launch, GeorgiaBEST spread quickly and is now taught in more than 200 schools throughout the state. The GNTC Adult Education program became the first to implement it at the technical college level in September.

“We have integrated the GeorgiaBEST program at all of the Adult Education centers in our nine-county service delivery area,” Smith said.  “More than 1,000 students have been exposed to this training since last fall and more students will earn their certificates in the weeks ahead.  We are proud of this collaboration with the GDOL and our efforts to prepare students for college or the workplace.”  

Students who participate in the program are evaluated by their teachers on their soft skills and, upon completion of the program, are awarded GeorgiaBEST certificates. The certification serves as validation to employers that students have successfully displayed strong work habits that will foster success in higher education and in the workplace.

Students earning the certificate must study and be assessed on 10 soft skill standards as set by the GDOL and participate in at least one of the required projects.   Those soft skills, put together by the GDOL with input from business and industry, include discipline and character, attendance and punctuality, work habits, teamwork, time management, attitude, communications skills, responsibility, and organization.

Schools or others who may want more information about GeorgiaBEST, should contact Rebecca McGee, state program manager for GeorgiaBEST, at Rebecca.McGee@gdol.ga.gov or (404) 232-7300.

News media needing additional information should call the GDOL Office of Communications at (404) 232-3685, or Amber Jordan, GNTC’s director of marketing and public relations at (706) 295-6768 or ajordan@gntc.edu.

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Left to right, Pete McDonald, president of Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC); Cassie Rutledge of Summerville; Amber Danforth of Rome; Connie Smith, vice president of Adult Education at GNTC; and Commissioner Mark Butler