Georgia named 'best state for business' for fifth consecutive year

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Georgia is once again celebrating the honor of being chosen the state with the best business climate.

This is the fifth consecutive year that Site Selection, a business trade magazine and website, picked Georgia as the place to locate a new business or expand an old one.

Monday, Governor Nathan Deal brought out his entire economic development team to talk about what Georgia gas that the competition is lacking. The Savannah Port is certainly a big one, but it's the workforce he credits with being the single biggest carrot in attracting new business. That workforce has been getting a lot of help from state incentives like the HOPE Grant Program.

HOPE allows the state to train workers in a dozen fields at tech schools so we're ready before the new company ever arrives, and pays for the worker's education.

"If you will pursue a degree or certificate in one of those 12 areas at our technical colleges, then the state will, through the HOPE Grant, pay 100 percent of your tuition," Governor Deal said.

The governor says 88 percent of those students are immediately placed in their field of study. Ninety-nine percent are placed in their field or in a related field. Because of the HOPE Grant success, the governor will be pushing the legislature this year to expand the program to also include trades like aviation, auto-technologies, and electrical line work.

Keep in mind, these kinds of jobs can start new employees at better than $60,000 a year.

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