On Nov. 14, 2023, the Savannah Harbor-Interstate 16 Corridor Joint Development Authority (Savannah JDA) in partnership with existing industries released the results of the Regional Workforce Study conducted by Donovan Gutshaw Consulting, LLC (WDGC).

The study’s goal was to identify the labor supply challenges facing the Savannah region employers and develop initiatives that will minimize the exposure to existing and future supply shortfalls. The scope of the study included a market analysis, identifying needs and challenges and providing a strategic workforce plan.

As a part of the study, key regional industries, economic development organizations, higher education, K-12 school systems, county and municipal leaders and local staffing agencies were included in online surveys, in-person interviews and/or virtual meetings.

The WDGC Executive Summary can be downloaded by clicking here. The workforce study press release can be found here.

The study area was a one-hour commute from Bryan County Megasite.

The key takeaways from the study include:

1. Overall, labor supply is extremely tight in the region.

2. Future demand will vary annually, but top needs will continue to be technical and production roles.

3. Competitive pay and enhancing employee retention have been increasingly important.

4. Workforce development initiatives must work to draw more high school graduates into industries including manufacturing.

5. Available labor from annual military departures is underutilized.

6. The Savannah region has a number of workforce strengths and several challenges.

7. Regional employers must take a more active role in addressing workforce challenges.

Workforce Development Plan

Workforce Development Plan Task Forces

  1. Military Resources
    – Provide annual listings and guidance on all area organizations serving military discharge transition and/or placement to members of Employers’ Forum and separating military personnel.
    – Link military discharges from U.S. bases to a Savannah job market applicant database.
  2. Underrepresented Workforce Pipeline
    – Develop channels of communication regarding training and job placement services for marginalized workforce.
  3. Housing
    – Imperative for this to be a regional collaborative effort to develop and execute action plan.
    – Adoption of down payment assistance programs.
    – Adoption of city/county housing redevelopment programs.
    – Procurement of financial assistance programs.
  4. Education Resources
    – Build/expand upon the exiting Career Pathway and Career Academy programs.
    – Develop channels of direct interaction between Forum employers, faculty and students/parents to encourage career choices within industries.
    – Establish corporate foundations focused on STEM/STEAM education in public schools.
    – Adopt Xcel strategies mentoring system on a broader scale.
    – Encourage development of internships through interaction between Employers’ Forum members.
  5. Transportation
    – Imperative for this to be a regional collaborative effort to develop and execute action plan.
    – Complete studies relative to micro transit zones.
    – Ongoing development of transportation plan that addresses commuter express/van pool routes to employer clusters.
    – Address transportation needs for students traveling between school/home and internship workplace sites.
  6. Regional marketing campaign to attract new talent to the region
    – Develop talent attraction brand campaign.
    – Develop website with direct link to job opportunities.
    – Direct marketing to students.
    – Develop social media, photography, video and more.
    – Develop marketing toolkit for employers to ensure they know assets available to them, key messaging.

Next Steps

This page will be updated frequently on implementation of the workforce development plan. Additional information will be released in January.

Representatives from Bryan, Bulloch, Chatham and Effingham traveled to Bowling Green, Kentucky, which was cited as a best practice community in the WDGC Workforce Study.