Mark Butler said the presence of Chattahoochee Technical College and other colleges’ campuses help show potential employers the county has a trained and educated workforce.
“Your front door looks so much better at the airport,” he said of the three-year-old Paulding Northwest Atlanta Airport. “You’re situated just the right distance from Atlanta. The quality of life out here is so good. I feel very good about Paulding County.”
Butler spoke after addressing the Paulding Business Association at Hiram Community Center.
The former state representative from Carrollton recalled working for two years in the real estate appraisal business in Paulding County in the early 1990s when the county was undergoing a major growth spurt.
“You’re probably better positioned than other counties. You look at the work force numbers, the schools, the community,” he said.
“There are so many things that go into attracting companies and keeping companies. It’s not just, ‘Hey, we’ve got this great industrial park.’ They look at quality of life, they look at community involvement, things that are available for the people they want to attract. Paulding County is doing a lot of the right things.
“Can we all be doing better? Yes, we can. But I think you’ve got a very good foundation here,” the commissioner said.
Local school systems, to be part of recruiting specific types of industries, need to have some control over what is taught, Butler said.
“I believe in local control. Every community in every part of Georgia is different and has different needs. For a community to be able to attract the type of businesses they want to bring in and the type of industry they want to bring in, they need to be able to have control over the talent pool and what’s being taught. With local control, you have that ability,” he said.
“There is no doubt you’re going to see more career academies in Georgia. We’ve got a lot of people who’ve got their heart in the right place and their minds set on what we need to be doing to get us back on track … and it starts in kindergarten on forth,” he said. “You can’t wait until they get into the post-secondary, university system.”