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Retooling Georgia’s Schools

As businesses increasingly hire skilled labor from elsewhere, state educators look to produce more college- and career-ready graduates.

It’s a problem plaguing many Georgia companies: too many job applicants lack adequate education and skills. In some cases, that has caused companies to move jobs to other states, like Home Depot did in the past few years when it built tech centers in California and Texas.

That is lost money that could be lining Georgians’ pockets and filling tax coffers to build schools and roads. Instead it goes elsewhere because of the gap between the skills that jobs require and the skills Georgians bring.

The gap is wide, and projections show Georgia jobs will require more training. In five years, 60 percent of jobs in the state will require post-secondary education, either a degree or certificate. But only 38 percent of Georgia high school sophomores get that far, according to a recent Atlanta Regional Commission study.

That gap is the problem, the chasm between success or failure in the future. Figure out how to bridge it, and Georgia advances; make no progress, and the state risks being surpassed by competitors.