State and local officials push for more post-secondary degrees

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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Leaders in business, government, and economic development gathered at Florida State University Panama City Monday to discuss ways to advance local education and encourage post-secondary degrees.

The event kicked off an initiative to increase the percentage of residents who have a degree or an industry certification from 47 percent to at least 55 percent in Northwest Florida.

With GKN Aerospace and other large industries possibly heading our way, college officials want locals to be trained and prepared to tackle the standards of the high-paying jobs that could soon be available to them.

"We're looking at everybody that's eligible of working age, to see if we can help them get a credential to get a better paying job. That includes making sure that everybody knows what opportunities are available. It's also incumbent upon economic development people. GKN is one that's been successfully recruited into this area, but you've gotta have the right kind of educational credential in order to go work for them," Gulf Coast State College President Dr. John Holdnak said.

Local colleges and institutions are working hand-in-hand with the economic development alliance to bring more jobs to the area, in hopes that Northwest Florida residents fill the positions.