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Labor commissioner touts job numbers, programs
by Bobby Tedder
btedder@neighbornewspapers.com
June 03, 2013 02:57 PM | 1568 views | 0 0 comments | 35 35 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mark Butler
Mark Butler
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Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said the state job market is on the right track, but there is still a ways to go.

Georgia experienced a bump in jobs totaling about 70,000 over the past year.

“All major factors … are going in the right direction,” Butler said. “We should continue to track a pretty steady and slow improvement.”

The commissioner’s remarks came during an appearance before the Rotary Club of Sandy Springs Monday at Hammond Glen. Butler also was scheduled to speak to the Vinings Business Association Tuesday afternoon and to the Buckhead 50 Club that night.

Only a third of the 322,000 jobs lost during the last recession have since been replaced, he noted.

Butler also touted multiple measures implemented by the Georgia Department of Labor to aid residents in search of gainful employment.

One such program, Special Workforce Assistance Team, entails intensive one-on-one counseling, workshops on resume writing and interview skills and facilitating educational opportunities. Another initiative, Georgia’s Best, is designed to teach workplace etiquette and other “soft” skills; it has been implemented into 150 schools and counting.

The Rotarian leadership on hand spoke favorably of Butler’s appearance.

“I am impressed with the Georgia Department of Labor’s program which goes into the schools and which teaches students practical job and “soft” skills,” said incoming spokeswoman Sally Wyeth. “It is good for Georgia that Commissioner Butler understands that a sound labor force receives its soft skills training well before the first paycheck is earned.”

Butler covered an array of relevant topics during his time on stage Monday, ranging from unions to tax credits extended to employers as an incentive to hire veterans returning from wars in the Middle East.

“We’re getting 50,000 to 80,000 veterans returning to this state, who are going to make this state their home,” Butler said. “We’re making them our No. 1 priority.”

Sandy Springs Rotary 2012-13 president-elect Jim Squire also touted Butler’s soft skills campaign, among other issues.

“I was particularly impressed with the way employment was rebounding in all parts of the state, particularly in the hard-hit Dalton area,” Squire said. “The resurgence of commercial construction, evidenced by the construction cranes that he pointed our were popping up in the metro area, should make a good dent in the unemployment numbers."
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