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January 14, 2016

Metro Atlanta Chamber Releases Report on Georgia Workforce and Education

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In an effort to get a clear and comparative picture with respect to education funding in Georgia, the Metro Atlanta Chamber commissioned a report from The Center for State and Local Finance at Georgia State University.  Specifically, the report examines education and workforce development funding in Georgia and other southeastern states. The report analyzes federal, state and local funding for Pre-K, K-12, higher education and job training for the years 2003 through 2012.

In 2012, the most recent year complete data is available,  Georgia spent nearly $60 million per day on education and job training.  Georgia ranks 3rd in total Pre-K spending among southern states behind Texas and Florida.  The ranking takes in to account both state and federal budget cuts reducing Pre-K funding by 5% and 17% since 2003.  Total Georgia K-12 funding increased 7% during the 2003 to 2012 period, but full-time student enrollment has gone up 11.6%. This means that K-12 spend per student has actually gone down 4% over the same period.

The concentration of Georgians with a post-secondary degree is a key metric companies look at when expanding or relocating in Georgia.  Georgia jumped from 4th to 2nd position (behind Virginia) with 31.6% of people aged 25 and older attaining at least a Bachelor’s degree or higher.  Georgia’s labor force grew 9%.  Only Texas and Florida outpaced Georgia in labor force growth.  Georgia’s labor force participation rate dropped slightly to 64.0% in 2012 from 68.2% in 2003.

While Georgia’s overall education expenditures suffered during the recession, the state still remains competitive relative to the leading southeastern counterparts - Texas, North Carolina and Florida.  The Metro Atlanta Chamber will continue to analyze and build upon this report in our efforts to inform better education and workforce policy.