Sun, May 19, 2024

Georgia’s Lottery impact on workforce development

Since its launch in 1992, the Georgia Lottery has pumped $28 billion into the state’s education system. In fiscal year 2023, lottery proceeds for education surpassed. $1.5 billion. There have been 2.1 million HOPE scholarships and grants and two million Pre-K students.

Gretchen Corbin, President and CEO of the lottery, broke down the numbers for the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce’s member economic luncheon on May 1.

She said then-Gov. Zell Miller championed the idea of a state lottery, with funds going to benefit education programs, when he realized the state was losing some of its best and brightest students to out-of-state universities.

“So, your Georgia lottery is looked at, not just throughout the country, but around the world as a leading lottery, because people recognize the importance of Pre-K and also college education,” she said. “And think about the workforce discussion that we always have, sitting with our prospects, with our existing industry, the workforce discussions that we have. We have the ability for technical college and university education for our students to choose to stay here.”

The impact education has on workforce development resonated with chamber members and business owners at the luncheon.

When the Georgia Chamber Foundation issued its 4th quarter economic report for 2023, the title was “The War for Talent.” It broke down how the state is working to fill current job openings while anticipating future needs.

The report says the state’s current workforce participation rate is about 61%. That means 40% of adults, or 3.2 million Georgians, are not engaged in the workforce at a time when businesses are trying to fill an estimated 350,000 job openings each quarter.

Calling it the “most significant challenge” faced by Georgia employers, the Chamber Foundation report found more than half of the leaders surveyed were experiencing workforce shortages at a time they wanted to increase their staff.

Corbin told ABD the impact of lottery funding on education has on educating students from Pre-K through post-secondary schools has been incredibly important.

“To make sure that all of our students have a direct pipeline from education to work has just been incredible,” she said. “So, we really commend the technical colleges, the universities, specifically here in Augusta, Augusta University, Augusta Tech in making sure that there’s the connection between those HOPE scholars, the HOPE Grant recipients as well, to our workforce.”

Corbin was also able to provide specific numbers for the lottery’s impact on Richmond County.

She said there have been 49,413 HOPE students, receiving more than $278 million for their education.

The county has had more than $189 million for Pre-K funding. That has meant more than 50,000 Pre-K students benefited from the Georgia Lottery proceeds.

Since it began, total lottery sales in Richmond County have been just over $3.5 billion, with more than $1.9 billion in prizes paid. Retails have also benefited. Their commissions topped $220.9 million.

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