Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Shore Mortgage Recruiting Loan Officers, Underwriters, Processors, Closers, Post Closing Specialists and Account Executives

Shore Mortgage Recruiting Loan Officers, Underwriters, Processors, Closers, Post Closing Specialists and Account Executives... December '08 Interest Rate Cut Creates Financing Frenzy, Strengthens Company's 2008 Growth

/PRNewswire/ -- FHA leader in Michigan, Shore Mortgage, a full service mortgage company offering new mortgages as well as refinancing services, has four locations throughout the Detroit metropolitan area and is licensed to do business in Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

Because of Shore's substantial activity in the past year and in anticipation of projected 2009 activity, President Robert Rahal announced the company is seeking to hire an additional 80 to 100 new employees in several capacities including loan officers (10-20 persons per month for the next three months), underwriters, processors, closers, post closing specialists and account executives. Shore has a complete educational program and will train eligible applicants without prior experience. As an added note, Shore is finding that many of the company's new candidates for the sales positions are changing careers and are becoming quite successful in their new positions. Persons with ethnic language capabilities are also encouraged to apply for Shore Mortgage's job openings. Full time positions include a full corporate benefits package and comprehensive training.

Rahal explains, "We need additional staff since the treasury rate cut has broken through the mortgage availability log jam. In addition to the rate cut, it is important to note that we are doing significant business in the real estate world as we are known for closing mortgages very quickly. It is this swift 'turn time' benefit to applicants and real estate agents that has become an important buying and selling tool for area realtors and homeowners."

Continued Rahal, "Shore Mortgage is one of the few companies that originate loans, fund their own loans and actually service (collects payments) on a portion of their loans. We've taken applications, had homes appraised, credit checked, applications processed, loans underwritten, title work secured, closing documents drafted, closings scheduled, and loans funded in just five to seven days dependent upon the applicant's credit worthiness and down payment."

"Our clients are finding that our more than 25 years of experience and professionalism with FHA lending products and procedures are enabling owners to move into a new property or refinance to lower their payments before their next monthly payment or before a payment is being adjusted upwards. This quick time process is also enabling the real estate agent to finalize transactions in an extremely expedient manner," added Rahal.

Counter to the industry trend toward downsizing and layoffs, Shore Mortgage, established in 1985, shows a consistent growth pattern and is again seeking new employees to service its past, present and future clientele in its Birmingham, Dearborn, Roseville and Taylor offices with training to be completed in the Birmingham location. The company is ranked among the top 15 nationally and holds an important standing with Lenders One Alliance and many others.

For additional information, please email (in word format) to careers@shoremortgage.com or fax resume to Human Resources, at 248.594.6150. Job seekers may also call the Shore Career Line at 248.594.8932.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

U.S. Department of Labor Issues Final H-2A Rule

/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration (ETA) and Employment Standards Administration (ESA) today published a final rule that modernizes the H-2A program for employing foreign workers in temporary or seasonal agricultural jobs, and enhances important worker protections.

"These reforms will improve the operation of the H-2A program for agricultural employers and help ensure that the employment of temporary foreign workers does not adversely affect U.S. workers," said Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao.

Many of the program's regulations have not been updated in more than 20 years. Last year, only about 75,000 positions were certified to be filled by legal H-2A workers, while there are an estimated 600,000 to 800,000 undocumented workers employed on America's farms.

The changes will update the H-2A program to improve the process for hiring legal foreign agricultural workers when no U.S. workers can be found. Unlike the proposed AgJOBS legislation, which would arbitrarily slash agricultural workers' wages, the revised H-2A regulations will set required wages according to prevailing local market rates, a methodology that has been used successfully in other temporary worker programs.

Regulatory updates include reducing unnecessarily duplicative filing, and federal and state government review of applications. Required employer recruitment for U.S. workers will begin earlier, thereby giving U.S. workers additional notice of available jobs, and employers will be required to submit an initial recruitment report to the department prior to receiving certification.

The rule establishes enhanced penalties for violations and new tools to ensure employer compliance, including audits, revocation of approved labor certifications, increased debarment authority and substantial increases in fines - up to $100,000 for violations resulting in serious injury or death of a worker. The rule also will prohibit employers and recruiters from charging fees to workers for access to jobs, a practice that in the past has led to many reported abuses.

The Office of Management and Budget has cleared the rule, which appears in today's Federal Register. The rule will become effective on Jan. 17, 2009.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

German Instrument Transformer Manufacturer to Open North American Headquarters in Hartwell

Governor Sonny Perdue announced today that RITZ Instrument Transformers plans to open a new manufacturing facility in Hartwell, creating 50 jobs and investing $3 million.

“Georgia’s business assets continue to appeal to international manufacturers such as RITZ that are looking to expand their U.S. presence,” said Governor Perdue. “Our strong workforce, business-friendly environment and transportation network make Georgia an ideal location for RITZ’s North American headquarters.”

RITZ Instrument transformers will expand its U.S. presence by opening a new facility in Hartwell. The company plans to manufacture medium and low voltage instrument transformers at the new facility, expected to be approximately 30,000 square feet in size. The facility will also serve as North American corporate and sales headquarters. The manufacturing processes will include transformer winding, assembly, molding and electrical testing, creating job opportunities for employees of various skill sets. RITZ hopes to develop a pool of domestic suppliers for its component needs.

“We are excited about the prospect of having a manufacturing facility in Hartwell,” said Ingmar Grambow, the leader of the RITZ Management Board. “The decision to build a manufacturing facility in the U.S. was a logical extension of the market development work that has taken place over the last several years. Hartwell was ultimately chosen as the plant site because of our confidence in the quality of the workforce that RITZ will be able to attract and the level of support offered by the state and local community. We believe that this is sufficient grounds to feel confident in the success of this undertaking. There are many years of sales and employment growth ahead of us.”

“The Hart County Board of Commissioners is proud to welcome RITZ Instrument Transformers to our industrial community,” said Jon Caime, Hart County Administrator. “Hart County’s low taxes, ideal location and strategic emphasis on high-tech and growing industrial sectors make this RITZ investment in our community an ideal match with the goals of the Hart County Board of Commissioners. We look forward to their long-term profitability and success in Hart County.”
Scott McMurray, project manager with GDEcD, assisted the company in its location.

About the company

The RITZ company was founded in 1945 by Dr. Hans Ritz with the goal of making the instrument transformer the most reliable part of the electrical power system. With the addition of the Hartwell facility, the RITZ Group will consist of seven factories located in five countries around the world. RITZ is the world’s largest manufacturer of instrument transformers in the 600 V through 72 kV range. Its many important clients include Siemens, ABB, AREVA and most large electrical utilities. The company has been able to grow and prosper by focusing on maintaining a very high quality standard, product innovation and cost-effective lean manufacturing. In addition to instrument transformers, the group also manufactures cast coil power transformers, resin insulated bus bar systems and specialty resin products.
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Friday, December 12, 2008

LG Electronics USA Opens Training Academy in Georgia; Consolidates Local Mobile Phone and Appliance Operations

/PRNewswire/ -- LG Electronics USA announced the grand opening today of the LG Training Academy in Roswell, Ga., to support LG's fast-growing commercial air conditioner business. At 16,000 square feet, this state-of-the art facility has the capability to train hundreds of engineers, contractors and technicians each month.

The city of Roswell was a natural choice for LG Electronics USA. The strategic location of the new facility places LG in a position to deliver the best hands-on product training for a region of the country with high demand for commercial air conditioning systems.

The training academy is the centerpiece of the new LG Roswell facility, which also houses the company's local operations for LG Mobile Phones and LG Digital Appliances. This location now has a total of 30 employees and plans to hire additional staff in 2009.

Michael Ahn, president and CEO, LG Electronics North America, called the new Roswell location "a symbol of LG's growth and vitality" in North America. "This is another important milestone in LG's tremendous expansion in the United States. Particularly noteworthy now during the U.S. recession is LG's investment in the communities where we live and work and our commitment to economic development and education here in the greater Atlanta area," he said.

The new academy will drive additional revenue to the City of Roswell with the use of local lodging and hospitality venues to support the influx of trainees. The academy will also partner with Atlanta-area printing and office suppliers for general business needs.

"LG Electronics' presence in Roswell shows its confidence in our workforce. LG Electronics will boost our economy through partnerships with local businesses and the use of our lodging and hospitality venues," said Roswell Mayor Jere Wood. "We look forward to working with LG as they build their commercial air conditioning business and add jobs and revenue to the city of Roswell."

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Atlanta CIOs Forecast Increase in First-Quarter Hiring

/PRNewswire/ -- A net 8 percent of chief information officers (CIOs) in the Atlanta area expect to hire information technology (IT) professionals in the first quarter of 2009, according to the most recent Robert Half Technology IT Hiring Index and Skills Report. Eleven percent of executives surveyed plan to add staff during the quarter and 3 percent anticipate reductions in personnel. The net 8 percent increase is up two points from the area's fourth-quarter 2008 forecast.

The local results reflect a two-quarter rolling average based on interviews with 200 CIOs from a stratified random sample of companies in the Atlanta area with 100 or more employees; 1,400 executives were queried for the national data. (To view the national results, visit http://www.rht.com/PressRoom.) The studies were conducted by an independent research firm and developed by Robert Half Technology, a leading provider of IT professionals on a project and full-time basis. Robert Half Technology has been tracking IT hiring activity in the United States since 1995.

"Businesses remain cautious in their hiring outlook, recruiting IT staff who can help them maximize the use of technology to improve efficiency, achieve cost savings and gain a competitive edge," said Katherine Spencer Lee, executive director of Robert Half Technology. "Investments in Web 2.0 initiatives continue to generate demand in such areas as web development and help desk."

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Monday, December 1, 2008

Wanted: Director of Communications

The Georgia Budget and Policy Institute (GBPI) seeks to hire a Director of Communications.

The Georgia Budget and Policy Institute is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that strives to raise the level of public policy debate in the state of Georgia. GBPI uses research, analysis and education to advance policies and practices that improve the quality of life for all Georgians. Through GBPI's fact-based research we educate policy makers, the media, and all Georgians about the importance of a fair and adequate tax system, affordable health coverage, and policies that expand opportunity and economic success for Georgians.

General Description

The Director of Communications will manage GBPI's communications activities with the goal of increasing public understanding of budget, tax, and economic issues important to low and moderate income Georgians. In addition, the Director of Communications will promote GBPI, our work and reputation, to key audiences.

Additional information about GBPI is available at www.gbpi.org .

Duties and responsibilities include:

· Works with staff and Board to develop and implement a comprehensive communications plan.

· Develops, coordinates, and manages a consistent organizational image across all communications forms and media.

· Develops and maintains relationships with statewide media. Fulfills media requests for information, develops and maintains contact list, schedules print and other interviews, tracks GBPI media coverage, etc.

· Edits publications and all other external communications to ensure they meet the highest standards of excellence with respect to grammar, tone, consistency, accuracy, branding and appearance.

· Writes and edits press releases, op-eds, and other appropriate promotional materials for the organization.

· Provides media training and advice to policy staff and facilitates message development through regular meetings with staff.

· Serves as primary contact with GBPI's computer consultant regarding changes and updates to website. Oversees website design and content management.

· Drafts e-newsletters for distribution to subscribers.

· Manages and maintains Constant Contact database for e-mail distributions.

· Performs other duties as assigned.

Qualifications

· Bachelor's degree and a minimum of three years in public relations/affairs, marketing, communications, journalism, or related field.

· Excellent writing, editing, speaking and analytical skills.

· Ability to explain complex issues to multiple audiences, including policymakers, community based organizations, media and the public.

· A demonstrated ability to meet deadlines, manage competing priorities and work independently.

· Self motivated, organized, adaptable, and able to work in a dynamic, team environment.

· Experience using web and e-mail for promoting issues. Familiarity with desktop and internet publishing and database management software.

· Must have demonstrated commitment to the mission and goals of the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute.

Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Compensation

Competitive salary commensurate with experience and available funds. GBPI offers health, dental, vision, long-term disability and SEP IRA retirement contributions. Generous vacation, holiday and sick leave.

To Apply

Please send resume, writing sample (i.e. clips of published op-eds, press releases, or other published works), cover letter, names and contact information of three references, and salary requirements to:

Georgia Budget and Policy Institute
Communications Director Search
100 Edgewood Ave
Suite 950
Atlanta, Georgia 30303

Email: aessig@gbpi.org

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index(TM) Improves Moderately, But Present Situation Weakens Further

/PRNewswire/ -- The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index(TM), which had declined to an all-time low in October, improved moderately in November. The Index now stands at 44.9 (1985=100), up from 38.8 in October. The Present Situation Index decreased to 42.2 from 43.5 last month. The Expectations Index increased to 46.7 from 35.7 in October.

The Consumer Confidence Survey(TM) is based on a representative sample of 5,000 U.S. households. The monthly survey is conducted for The Conference Board by TNS. TNS is the world's largest custom research company. The cutoff date for November's preliminary results was November 18th.

Says Lynn Franco, Director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center: "The persistent declines in the Present Situation Index suggest that the economy has weakened further in the final months of this year. Inflation expectations, which have been at historically high levels in recent months, subsided considerably as a result of falling gas prices. But, despite the improvement in the Expectations Index this month, consumers remain extremely pessimistic and the possibility that economic growth will improve in the first half of 2009 remains highly unlikely."

Consumers' assessment of current conditions deteriorated further in November. Those claiming business conditions are "bad" increased to 40.3 percent from 37.1 percent, while those claiming business conditions are "good" edged up to 9.9 percent from 9.4 percent last month. Consumers' assessment of the labor market was more negative than a month ago. Those saying jobs are "hard to get" rose to 37.2 percent from 36.6 percent in October, while those claiming jobs are "plentiful" decreased to 8.8 percent from 9.0 percent.

Consumers' short-term outlook was less pessimistic. Those anticipating business conditions to worsen over the next six months declined to 28.1 percent from 36.5 percent, while those expecting conditions to improve rose to 11.4 percent from 9.6 percent.

The outlook for the labor market was also less negative. The percent of consumers anticipating fewer jobs in the months ahead declined to 33.3 percent from 41.5 percent, while those expecting more jobs increased to 9.2 percent from 7.3 percent. The proportion of consumers anticipating an increase in their incomes increased to 13.3 percent from 11.1 percent.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

U.S. Conference of Mayors 153 City Survey Shows 'Ready-To-Go' Local Infrastructure Projects Would Create Hundreds of Thousands of Jobs

PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The nation's mayors today reiterated their call for a Main Street Stimulus package in the lame-duck Congress by releasing the first in a series of reports that inventories each city's "ready-to-go" infrastructure projects -- projects that could be started and completed in calendar year 2009 -- if emergency federal funding were made available. Information on these projects has been submitted to the U.S. Conference of Mayors from 153 cities of all sizes in all regions of the country. In this first release, cities have identified a total of 4,591 infrastructure projects costing a total of $24.4 billion that would create more than a quarter of a million jobs.

"In today's world, metropolitan economies, which comprise 90% of our gross domestic product, drive the national economy. Investing in Main Street metro economies is the most direct path to creating the jobs and stimulating the business that can begin to reverse the current economic downturn. Washington has bailed out Wall Street to the tune of $700 billion and hopes its investment will eventually be returned to the taxpayer. It is now time for an investment in local economies that will produce a guaranteed return of jobs," said U.S. Conference of Mayors President Miami Mayor Manny Diaz.

Diaz continued, "If ever there was a time for bi-partisan leadership, it is now. Our survey shows that cities are 'ready-to-go' with infrastructure projects that will immediately employ people, support small businesses, and stimulate Main Street economies."

This initial report of city infrastructure projects validates the Conference's recommendations to Congress for direct emergency stimulus funds that cities can invest immediately in job creation, small business activity and lasting infrastructure improvements for Main Street America.

"Mayors tell us that the job situation is dire and only getting worse. The unemployment numbers indicate a rapid deterioration in the job outlook for Americans, and thousands more jobs will be lost as each month passes with no action from the lame-duck Congress. Main Street is hurting. Metro economies of America need jobs now and our economy desperately needs help at the Main Street level. Our Main Street Stimulus is the answer," said Tom Cochran, Conference CEO and Executive Director.

The Conference's Main Street Stimulus plan was officially unveiled on Capitol Hill on October 29th. Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson, Past President to the Conference of Mayors, testified before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee; and Trenton Mayor Douglas Palmer, Immediate Past President of the Conference, testified before the House Ways and Means Committee to urge lawmakers to support the mayors' plan of an initial investment of $89.8 billion that includes funding in ten sectors including Community Development Block Grants, transit, highway infrastructure, green jobs, school modernization, public safety and public housing.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Despite Slight Dip in October, IT Employment Continues to Outperform General Employment Market

PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- While the news in the general employment market in October was horrific, IT employment dipped only slightly, according to the National Association of Computer Consultant Businesses (NACCB), which tracks monthly IT employment.

With a slight dip of 3,000 jobs (.08%) in October, the association reported IT employment stood at 3,916,200. Even with the modest decline in October, IT employment has displayed surprising resilience during the year. From October 2007 through the current month, IT employment was still up 4.5 percent -- far outpacing the general employment market. The broader job market continues to shed jobs at an alarming rate, losing 284,000 jobs in September (a significant upward revision) and an additional 240,000 jobs in October.

"The contraction of IT employment in October was not surprising. Given all the turmoil in the economy and the devastating job losses in the general employment market in recent months, we are relieved that the decline in October was a modest one," commented Mark Roberts, CEO of NACCB. "While the long-term growth prospects of IT employment remains very strong, I anticipate there will be significant challenges in the short-term and mid-term in light of the deteriorating macroeconomic picture," said Roberts.

The IT employment index is published by the National Association of Computer Consultant Businesses (NACCB), the national trade association representing IT staffing and solutions firms. For complete IT Index please visit: www.naccb.org/employment-index/index.cfm.

Technical note: NACCB's IT Employment Index is the first specific measurement of IT employment. This unique measurement of total IT employment is created monthly by studying the ongoing staffing patterns of a dozen IT and computer related occupations in 16 industries and industry sectors employing significant numbers of IT workers including the manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, financial, information services, business and professional services, and education and health industries. The monthly IT Employment Index is based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, which is subject to monthly revisions, with concomitant revisions to the Index. The IT Employment Index is also subject to annual revisions of BLS data. The IT Index was rebenchmarked in February 2008 with the publication of the BLS January 2008 employment report, reflecting significant revisions of employment data from the past several years.

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Can Telecommuting and a Four-Day Workweek Build a Better Workforce?

(BUSINESS WIRE)--With the uncertainty of the economic climate, many companies are considering several options to help employees lower their costs and help their paycheck stretch further. Gevity (NASDAQ: GVHR), a leading professional employer organization (PEO) that provides HR services to businesses nationwide, today released guidelines and tips for companies considering alternative workforce arrangements including telecommuting and flexible schedules such as a four-day workweek.

“Some U.S. businesses are turning to telecommuting and a four-day workweek for two key reasons: to save costs and keep their best employees,” said Meredith Johnson, Gevity’s Chief People Officer. “With a shorter workweek, employees immediately save 20% of their commute costs so it’s a great way to help them retain more of their take-home pay when budgets are tight. Effectively, it’s a pay raise at no cost to the employer. Businesses also may actually realize productivity gains and increased employee satisfaction due to fewer distractions, lower stress, and more control over time.”

The Planning Process

“Employers that are ready to consider alternative work arrangements should make sure to complete their due diligence,” said Johnson. “First, evaluate which job functions are appropriate for telecommuting or a four-day workweek. Jobs that are high on daily customer contact or require access to in-office reference materials won’t travel well, but those that are heavy on computer work, require great concentration, and have clear objectives can be ideal.”

“Also consider which employees are viable candidates for flexible schedules,” Johnson said. “Those who demonstrate good performance and self-accountability will generally do best. The new demands on supervisors also should be considered. They may need training in ‘management by results’ in addition to the traditional ‘management by observation.’”

Other guidelines to consider include:

1. Make a list, check it twice. Create a checklist to analyze each job function for telecommuting compatibility. Look specifically at the type of work performed, the employees’ personalities, and the performance measurements you’ll put in place to optimize the initiative’s success.

2. Location, location, location. Think about where the program will be implemented: who will be off-site and when, who will not, and what the company will look like. Most employees will want to telecommute or participate in a four-day workweek, but many won’t be able to. Be prepared to deal with this fairly and sensibly.

3. Think technical. Consider the related IT costs of telecommuting. Ensure that your organization is equipped for virtual work arrangements, including appropriate software, computers, connectivity, security and technical support. Virtual work arrangements can increase demands on IT staff if they are not well implemented.

4. Spell it out. Use a formal telecommuting agreement that clearly articulates the terms of the arrangement. It should cover company expectations, who is responsible for equipment and appropriate workspaces, schedules, etc. Most importantly, it should establish telecommuting as an accommodation, not an entitlement, that can be modified at-will by the employer, should company requirements change.

5. Start small. Consider launching with a pilot program. This will help work out the kinks in a relatively controlled environment.

6. Some face time is good. Some time in the office will almost certainly be required for telecommuters. This can help address the decreased teamwork and sense of belonging that may occur in those who are not in the office on a regular basis.

Like any major change, telecommuting and other flexible work arrangements will take some getting used to. Once the system is fully operational, however, the move should pay ongoing dividends for the company, the workers and the environment.

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Friday, October 31, 2008

Georgia Headed into Troubled Economy Before Fully Recovering From 2001 Recession

A report released today by the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute concludes that even as the current economic slowdown hit, Georgia families were still trying to recover from the 2001 recession and its aftermath. The report, State of Working Georgia 2008, examines job growth, unemployment, income, and benefits, using data from the Current Population Survey and American Community Survey, among other sources.

The key findings surrounding the current economic slowdown include:

* From September 2007 to September 2008, Georgia lost 61,100 nonfarm jobs and was one of only five states to experience a statistically significant employment decrease, according to preliminary Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data.
* The number of unemployed workers rose by roughly 100,000 between September 2007 and September 2008, for a total of 317,500 out-of-work Georgians in September 2008. Georgia had the 15th highest unemployment rate in the nation in September.

Data for 2007 on underemployment, incomes, and benefits show that Georgia workers had not fully regained the ground lost during the 2001 recession. In short, before the 2008 economic crisis started, Georgians were still trying to recover from the 2001 recession, as was the case in many states. Data from BLS and Census Bureau surveys show:

* About 8 percent of workers were underemployed in 2007, compared to 6.3 percent in 2001. Underemployed includes unemployed workers, marginally attached workers, and part-time workers who would like full-time jobs.
* Median household income in 2007 remained statistically unchanged compared to 2001, after adjusting for inflation.
* The poverty rate remained high at 14.3 percent in 2007, compared to 11.7 percent in 2001.
* In 2006-2007, 59.9 percent of non-elderly Georgians were covered by employer-sponsored health insurance, compared to 64.4 percent in 2000-2001. The percent of Georgians lacking health coverage rose from 15.0 percent in 2000-2001 to 17.6 percent in 2006-2007.

"The employment conditions in Georgia pose both short-term and long-term challenges, as policymakers must confront the current slowdown and the continued effects of the 2001 recession," noted Sarah Beth Gehl, Deputy Director of GBPI. "For the short-term, our leaders must protect vital public services as workers face unemployment and increased income insecurity. For the long-term, policymakers should focus on raising adult education levels and strengthening work and income supports for workers in low-paying jobs."

The report also examines employment conditions and income based on race, gender, and education, as well as income earned by each income quintile. The report provides budget and policy recommendations for both the current economic crisis and the long-term economic challenges faced by low-income working families.

Short-term recommendations -

* Call on Congress to pass an economic recovery package that includes additional weeks of unemployment benefits, a temporary increase in Food Stamp benefits, and state fiscal relief. (For estimates on the additional funds Georgia would receive under U.S. House and Senate packages, find tables at the end of this report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.)
* Target budget cuts to lower priority programs. With a potential $2 billion state budget shortfall, the state has made across-the-board budget cuts to most state agencies. As Georgia families experience dramatic financial strain in 2008, leaders must ensure that vital government services are adequately funded. Medicaid, PeachCare, child care, and education, to name a few, should be spared as much as possible.
* Raise revenues through strategic tax increases. Rather than relying overwhelming on budget cuts, there should a balanced approached to the budget shortfall, including strategic tax increases. Raising the cigarette tax or implementing a temporary income tax surcharge, for example, would provide needed revenues to avoid further cuts to public services.
* Use the revenue shortfall reserve. Through good fiscal management, Georgia has a $1 billion rainy day fund. Now is the time to use it.

Long-term recommendations -

* Increase the capacity for adult basic education. Georgia invests around $14 per adult without a GED in adult basic education, compared to the national average of $64. Georgia should increase its investment in this area, along with outreach efforts towards nontraditional students and support services for families seeking education opportunities.
* Undertake additional outreach efforts for Medicaid and PeachCare. Of the 300,000 uninsured children in Georgia, an estimated 200,000 are eligible for Medicaid or PeachCare, but not enrolled. Getting eligible children and families enrolled in existing programs can increase the efficiency and effectiveness of available healthcare programs. The federal government covers a majority of the cost of these programs, with an almost 2 to 1 match for Medicaid and 3 to 1 match for PeachCare.
* Increase child care assistance for low- and moderate-income working families. Georgia uses federal dollars to assist low-income families with child care costs, but continues to have a waiting list for assistance. At the same time, Georgia subsidizes child care through the tax system, with millions of forgone tax dollars subsiziding child care for upper-income families. Policymakers should end the child care subsidy for higher-income Georgians and more fully assist low-income working families.
* Create a state earned income tax credit (EITC), enhance outreach efforts around the federal EITC, and raise the state minimum wage to the federal level.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

NCR to locate Center of Excellence in Georgia

Fortune 500 company will expand within existing Peachtree City, Duluth facilities

Governor Sonny Perdue and NCR Corporation Senior Vice President Christine Wallace announced today that NCR, a Fortune 500 technology company, will establish a global Center of Excellence in Georgia, co-locating several key components of its Worldwide Customer Service operations and creating 916 new jobs in the next 26 months. In conjunction with this expanded service presence, the headquarters for NCR’s Worldwide Customer Services business will also be located in Georgia.

“We welcome NCR’s Center of Excellence to Georgia,” said Governor Perdue. “Georgia’s workforce is widely known for being highly skilled and able to provide quality customer service, which are both qualities that we are proud to contribute to NCR’s continued success.”

NCR – the world’s leading provider of ATMs, retail self-checkout and other innovative assisted- and self-service solutions – will make a $15 million capital investment and expand the number of personnel in its existing facilities in both Peachtree City and Duluth, creating new jobs in each community. The company will co-locate an NCR Learning Center and its Customer Care Center hub for the Americas region with the company’s existing Global Service Materials operation in Peachtree City.

The 360,000-square-foot facility in Peachtree City will be extensively remodeled to create a world-class service support environment and training facility. The Peachtree City and Duluth facilities will house interrelated functions that support service delivery to NCR’s customers throughout the U.S. and Canada, and coordinate with NCR service centers in other regions to support customers on a global basis. Co-locating these functions in the greater Atlanta area will create a collaborative community of service professionals that can more easily share service knowledge and best practices. The Peachtree City facility will also enable visitors to observe NCR’s end-to-end service delivery process within a single location.

“The creation of this Center of Excellence underscores NCR’s commitment to its growing Worldwide Customer Services business and to exceeding our customers’ expectations of NCR as a dependable technology partner,” said Wallace. “Georgia’s thriving business environment and large, multilingual workforce will enhance NCR’s ability to provide cost-effective service delivery and the world’s highest levels of customer satisfaction and solution availability.”

“We thank this Fortune 500 Company for their investment in our community,” said Peachtree City Mayor Harold Logsdon. “Peachtree City’s slogan is ‘Plan to Stay’ and we are thrilled to know that NCR has chosen to do just that by announcing their decision to expand their operations here. In choosing Peachtree City for their Customer Services Center of Excellence, NCR is demonstrating that Peachtree City is the preeminent location for world class industry to locate and grow, and that they value our unique location and quality of life.”

“I’m proud that Gwinnett County Economic Development and Partnership Gwinnett have once again been able to attract this kind of high quality project to our county, our state, and our region. This is a tremendous accomplishment for all of us,” said Charles Bannister, chairman of the Gwinnett County Commission.
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Sunday, October 12, 2008

First Major Auto Assembly Equipment for Kia Arrives in Georgia

The first major machinery destined for Kia Motors’ West Point manufacturing plant arrived in the United States this week when the ship M/V Leopold Stuffs coasted into the Port of Savannah carrying more than 3,500 tons of automobile-making equipment.

Over the next few weeks, the equipment will be transported from Savannah to Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, Inc.’s $1.2 billion facility, which is under construction in West Point. There it will be assembled into two large presses that will be used to form various panels for Kia vehicles. Some of the larger pieces weigh up to 125 tons and require special arrangements for its transportation across Georgia.

“This is a great example of how Georgia’s strengths enable our successes in economic development,” said Governor Sonny Perdue. “From our ports to our highways to QuickStart’s workforce training, Georgia has all the advantages that global companies look for in a place to create new jobs and new investment.”

With Kia’s planned 2,500 jobs and $1.2 billion investment, the economic impact of the project on West Georgia and the state is continuing to grow. Automotive suppliers who have announced their intent to locate in the region as a result of Kia’s presence will bring the total job creation number to more than 6,000.

“The arrival of these presses inside the state of Georgia is another huge step for Kia as we get closer to going into production in West Point,” said Randy Jackson, Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, Inc.’s (KMMG) director of human resources and administration. “It takes quite an effort between Kia and various state agencies to coordinate the transport of such a large shipment, but Georgia’s ability to facilitate such an effort is one of the main reasons we’re here.”

Jackson praised the collaboration among the various agencies for making this significant achievement possible. The overall project is spearheaded by the Georgia Department of Economic Development. The Georgia Ports Authority’s (GPA) capabilities for receiving and handling such large pieces of cargo, combined with the Georgia Department of Transportation’s (GDOT) engineering know-how for determining a secure route and monitoring safety requirements enable the equipment to make the final leg of a journey that has already taken it 15,000 miles from its origin in Masan, Korea. Quick Start, Georgia’s workforce training program which is part of the Technical College System of Georgia, closes the loop by helping to prepare Kia’s team members for operation of the assembly equipment.

"Kia is an important customer for the GPA and this recent shipment is another example of that partnership," said Doug J. Marchand, Executive Director of the GPA. "We look forward to working with Kia for many years to come."

The shipment left Masan, Korea, August 12 on the Leopold Staffs and has since navigated across the Pacific Ocean, through the Panama Canal, across the Gulf of Mexico, around Florida and up the coast to the Port of Savannah. Aerocosta Global Systems of New York coordinated the ship’s operations.

Once the equipment is unloaded from the ship, the items will be transported another 300 miles to KMMG in West Point in 128 separate loads. The company Guy M. Turner, Inc. of North Carolina will transport the pieces from the Port of Savannah to West Point, using a fleet of trucks that include dual-lane trailers and a specialized 19-axle truck for the largest pieces of the presses.

The equipment will be assembled by the company Rotem, its manufacturer, into a transfer press and a blanking press. The transfer press will use its capability for 5,400 tons of pressure to stamp steel into 17 different types of vehicle panels for the next generation Sorento, including its hood, doors and fenders. The blanking press will use 600 tons of pressure to cut steel “blanks” which will be shaped by the stamping press.
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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Newell Rubbermaid Opens Global Headquarters, Announces Expansion

Governor Sonny Perdue and Mark Ketchum, president and CEO of Newell Rubbermaid, Inc., announced today that the company will add up to 200 new jobs in its latest Georgia expansion. The announcement came today during ribbon-cutting ceremonies for Newell Rubbermaid’s new global headquarters building in Sandy Springs, Ga.

“I am honored to help welcome Newell Rubbermaid employees to their new offices,” said Governor Perdue. “We are proud this great company has found continued success by putting down deeper roots in Georgia.”

The Fortune 500 company will welcome its Baby and Parenting Essentials global business unit, comprised of the Graco, Aprica and Teutonia brands, to the building in summer 2009, bringing up to 200 jobs to Georgia – the majority of which will be filled locally.

As previously announced, Newell Rubbermaid also will open a new 800,000-square-foot Southeast distribution center in Union City later this year, ultimately employing a workforce of 300 – 200 of which will be new jobs added to the Georgia economy.

Newell Rubbermaid moved its worldwide headquarters to Atlanta in 2003. Its Georgia workforce will have grown from 200 people in 2003 to approximately 1,000 employees by the end of 2009.

“The State of Georgia and metro Atlanta have been extremely welcoming to Newell Rubbermaid. In addition to being an international hub, metro Atlanta is home to exceptional talent from a variety of backgrounds, which will help ensure that our employee population ultimately reflects the diversity of our consumer population,” said Newell Rubbermaid President and CEO Mark Ketchum. “This building symbolizes so many of the intangibles that are critical to our future success: the opportunity to build one culture, bring our values to life, and declare to the world who we are and what we are about.”

Newell Rubbermaid’s 350,000-square-foot, 14-story global headquarters building is located at Three Glenlake Parkway in the Perimeter Center area of Atlanta. The building was developed by Greenstone Properties in partnership with Pope & Land and Granite Properties. Architects were Pickard Chilton and Wakefield Beasley. Employees from three separate Atlanta sites are united in the new headquarters, which includes a training facility, fitness center, cafĂ©, company store and other worker-friendly amenities. The company has the option to expand further and construct a second building on the site.

Partnering with Newell Rubbermaid on its expansion were the Georgia Department of Economic Development, Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce, Development Authority of Fulton County and City of Sandy Springs

About the Company Newell Rubbermaid Inc, an S&P 500 company, is a global marketer of consumer and commercial products with sales of over $6 billion and a strong portfolio of brands, including Rubbermaid®, Sharpie®, Graco®, Calphalon®, Irwin®, Lenox®, Levolor®, Paper Mate®, Dymo®, Waterman®, Parker®, Goody®, BernzOmatic®,and Amerock®. The company is headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., and has approximately 22,500 employees worldwide.
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