Gov. Kemp makes stops in Southeast Ga. on Wednesday

In Baxley, Gov. Brian Kemp helped announce a regional career academy for dual enrollment...
In Baxley, Gov. Brian Kemp helped announce a regional career academy for dual enrollment students in five counties.(WTOC)
Updated: Aug. 26, 2020 at 10:23 AM EDT
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BAXLEY, Ga. (WTOC) - Georgia Governor Brian Kemp spent the day in Southeast Georgia talking about keeping Georgians - and Georgia’s economy - alive.

The governor's faced a lot of criticism during this pandemic. He cites numbers that indicate the rate of spread has slowed over the past few weeks. But he still urges people to be safe and follow guidelines to protect themselves, their families, and communities.

During the Claxton portion of the trip, he said 75 percent of the hospitals in Georgia are seeing fewer COVID-19 patients. He also claims the percentage of people testing positive has dropped slightly.

Even with those encouraging stats, he said people need to continue to socially distance, sanitize, and protect themselves. He said he wants to mobilize some state testing teams so they can migrate to spots where cases continue to grow.

“If we have those mobile teams, instead of having people at a fixed site somewhere that nobody’s going to visit to get tested, let’s take those resources and take them somewhere we need them for testing,” Gov. Kemp said.

He also touted his “Four Things for Fall” as simple ways everyone can help flatten the curve. He said everyone who wants to see businesses stay open and normal in-person events back such as football games and church services, they need to follow these guidelines and take the pandemic seriously.

The first stop Wednesday was at Coastal Pines Technical College in Baxley, Ga. You can watch a replay of the news conference below:

#WATCH: Governor Brian Kemp is speaking at the Coastal Pines Technical College in Baxley-->>

Posted by WTOC-TV on Wednesday, August 26, 2020

The new career academy at the Coastal Pines campus in Baxley not only helps high school students prepare for careers they want, it also helps make them marketable to local industries so they can stay in their hometown if they choose.

Governor Kemp helped announce a $3 million dollar grant. It helps add vocational training programs for fields needed by local businesses. School leaders say youngsters often leave the region to get training and don't come back.

“They tell you, it’s not a lack of desire, it’s ‘I don’t think the opportunities are there,’” Appling County Schools Superintendent Dr. Scarlett Copeland said.

The grant helps expand the career academy to help students from Appling, Bacon, Jeff Davis, Pierce, and Wayne counties.

“To have five counties involved, it really gives these kids a lot of options,” Gov. Kemp said.

The courses also fit into the state's curriculum for tech schools.

“All of these programs qualify for the HOPE Grant, so that will cover 76 percent of a student’s tuition,” Coastal Pines Technical College President Dr. Glenn Deibert said.

They hope getting students into these courses gives local businesses a work force that helps them grow their business, even in rural Georgia.

Gov. Kemp made stops at Vidalia High School in Vidalia and USA Concrete Pump Engineering in Metter.

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