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Second annual REED Summit to focus on business

August 23, 2019

As manufacturers, distributors and technology industries expand in north Georgia, University of North Georgia (UNG) plans to aid in their development with the second annual Regional Education and Economic Development (REED) Summit.

Titled "North Georgia Means Business," the unique one-day event will focus on logistics and supply chain management, cybersecurity, financial technology, and how emerging technologies are driving business in today's global marketplace.

"Within these industries, there are many career opportunities including jobs available to high school graduates open to on-the-job training, individuals who have completed career-technical education programs and college graduates who are ready to apply their knowledge and skills in the workplace.  And right here in the region, there are great educational programs to help students prepare for entry into the workforce and continue their education as they advance in their careers," said Bobbi Larson, economic development and community engagement director at UNG. 

The REED Summit will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 10, at the Convocation Center on UNG's Dahlonega Campus. Tickets are $25 for professionals and community members and $10 for high school and college students with a valid student ID.

"UNG is committed to expanding educational attainment and enhancing economic development in our region, and we began the REED initiative several years ago to help address important workforce needs in this rapidly growing area of the state," UNG President Bonita Jacobs said. "This summit brings together students, professionals and community stakeholders to learn about and discuss industry trends, educational pathways, career opportunities, and anticipated challenges businesses face in north Georgia."

Summit participants have varied interests in the future of business in the region, including economic development professionals, government officials, business and community leaders, educators and students, according to Ben Jarrard, UNG's executive director of government relations and economic development.

Attendees will also hear from Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, who will deliver the keynote address, and other guest speakers. Businesses and organizations in attendance include representatives from Syfan Logistics, Georgia Department of Economic Development, North Georgia Technical Institute and Lanier Technical College. Northeast Georgia Health System is the presenting sponsor.

Participants will also learn about the topics during panel discussions and breakout sessions. Topics will include the new inland port in Hall County and its anticipated impact and the continued expansion of "transaction alley," where 70% of all financial transactions that occur in the United States are processed through systems operated by Georgia-based fintech corporations.

Jarrard hopes this event will impact the way educators advise their students.

"This will be a great opportunity for UNG faculty and staff, as well as those from other post-secondary institutions or high schools, to learn about opportunities available for future graduates," he said. "With the drive for innovation and fast-changing technology that are hallmarks of today's business environment, it is vital that schools collaborate with industry to provide the education and skills our graduates need to succeed."

For example, UNG students pursuing a business administration degree with a concentration in supply chain management and logistics can network with officials from Syfan Logistics, a transportation logistics business located in Hall County.

Students are not the only ones who will benefit. Faculty may also connect with industry leaders to stay current on changing business trends, which can translate into the curriculum and classroom.

"Our faculty can produce graduates who can add immediate value to the workforce," Larson said. "And UNG students will be better prepared to enter these career fields and continue to live and work in north Georgia."

Last year, UNG partnered with Northeast Georgia Health System to present the inaugural REED Summit. It connected prospective and current college students who wanted to work in the healthcare industry with an array of career opportunities and exposed them to educational pathways and industry professionals.

Supporting sponsorship opportunities and limited exhibitor booths are available for the 2019 summit. To register, visit www.ung.edu/reed/reed-summit.

For more information, contact Larson at 678-717-3692 or Bobbi.Larson@ung.edu.

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