A statewide group of politically active women is planning to take aim at Georgia's nagging double-digit unemployment rate this weekend.
The Georgia Federation of Democratic Women is scheduled to host a non-partisan "Bringing Jobs to Georgia" job-creation discussion Saturday, from 1 p.m., to 2:30 p.m., at the Lake City Municipal Hall, located at 5455 Jonesboro Road, in Lake City.
The event will feature presentations from Toni Buxton, the director of the U.S. Department of Labor's Southeast Region; former Georgia AFL-CIO President Richard Ray, and Morrow-based Higher Living Christian Church Elder William Hill. Federation President Gail Buckner said the group's goal is to make people aware of federal funding sources that can be used for job creation.
"We have the U.S. Labor Department representative coming down to talk about the types of funding available from the federal government, such as grants that pay for the creation of summer jobs for teenagers, and other monies," Buckner said. "I just want to make sure our local officials know that these monies are available, to create jobs. All they have to do is apply for them."
The Georgia Federation of Democratic Women's jobs-creation program comes at a time when unemployment figures for Clayton and Henry counties are higher than the state's already-high unemployment rate.
Georgia Department of Labor preliminary labor force estimates, for September, show Clayton County had an unemployment rate of 12.8 percent that month (down 0.1 percentage points from August). Henry County, meanwhile, had an unemployment rate of 11 percent (up 0.2 percentage points from August). The data shows the two counties, combined, had a total of 27,626 unemployed residents in September.
The state, as a whole, had an unemployment rate of 10.3 percent in September. That is essentially the same rate it had in August. There were 489,222 unemployed Georgians in September, versus 488,068 unemployed state residents in the preceding month, according to the state's labor data.
"I certainly hope our government leaders will apply for this money," Buckner said. "If nothing else, they will at least have the information about these programs, and they can decide on their own if they are going to pursue these funding sources."
Buckner said groups from other counties across Georgia, including Gwinnett, Chatham and Fayette counties have already informed her of their intention to attend this weekend's event. She added that she is hoping for a large turnout of people from Clayton and Henry counties as well.
"While we hope many of our local leaders do attend this program, citizens who want to get information about these funding sources are certainly invited to attend as well," Buckner said. "This program is open to everyone in the community."
E-mail Buckner at firstname.lastname@example.org, or go online, to georgiademocraticwomen.com, to find out more about the jobs-creation program, or about the federation.