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Local Savannah leaders and Axios' Nick Johnston at The Hometown Tour Savannah stop. Photo: Amanda Driggers for Axios

Last week, Axios Editor-in-Chief Nick Johnston continued the Hometown Tour in Savannah, Georgia, where he led an Expert Voices Live discussion on the workforce and on education issues that matter most to Georgia communities.

Why it mattered: 25 local leaders from the Savannah business and education communities joined Mayor Eddie DeLoach and Representative Buddy Carter in a conversation that covered:

  • The challenges and opportunities facing the labor market.
  • The skills and education required for the workforce of the future.
  • How to generate solutions for local educators and business leaders to empower the next generations of workers.

Nick Johnston opened up the conversation to the group with: “what kind of workforce does this country need to confront the next century?”

Mayor Eddie DeLoach discusses early childhood education. Photo: Amanda Driggers for Axios

Mayor Eddie DeLoach on the importance of early childhood education: “The key is getting skills built up at 4 or 5 years old so that students aren’t falling behind before they’ve even started their educational path.”

Teresa Middleton, Founder of Education Circle, on Georgia’s current state: “One of the things we are missing is that education doesn’t reflect what’s happening in real life. We devalue creativity and improvisation. We need to help students understand what it means to fail.”

The conversation shifted to dig deeper into the current state of Georgia’s small businesses and how to address issues such as retention and workforce development.

Representative Buddy Carter speaks to how today's economy is affecting the labor market. Photo: Amanda Driggers for Axios

Representative Buddy Carter: “One of the side effects of a strong economy is the labor pool shrinks. When you have such a low unemployment rate, you to have make sure you have a qualified workforce.”

Leigh Acevedo of Savannah's Economic Development Authority speaks to the importance of community in the workplace. Photo: Amanda Driggers for Axios

Leigh Acevedo, Director of Business Retention at the Savannah Economic Development Authority, emphasized the importance of investing in workplace benefits, such as childcare, when discussing the key to successful workforce development.

Manuel Dominguez, Director of Savannah’s Office of Business Opportunity, closed out the conversation saying: “We need to be reminded that we are not all doing great… we need to start thinking about what is equitable, what does inclusive growth look like.”

Thank you to everyone who joined us, and thank you Wells Fargo for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

2021 economy boomed at fastest rate in 37 years

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

The U.S. economy surged ahead with a 6.9% annual growth rate in the final months of 2021 and achieved the strongest growth over an entire calendar year since 1984.

Driving the news: New GDP numbers from the Commerce Department show a remarkable acceleration in economic activity, much faster than the 5.3% growth rate analysts expected.

The Fed isn't the only problem investors are worried about

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Federal Reserve will be raising rates, just as the economy is slowing. The markets hate that.

Why it matters: The ugly start to the stock trading year doesn't just reflect Fed-induced agita — investors are also worried about a growth slowdown.

4 hours ago - Health

White House says Obamacare sign-ups hit record

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra speaking in the White House in December 2021. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

The White House said Thursday that a record 14.5 million Americans have signed up for health insurance through Obamacare marketplaces since Nov. 1, including more than 10 million enrollments through HealthCare.gov.

Why it matters: Last year's stimulus bill contained substantial investments in the program, including increased subsidies for people who don't receive health insurance from an employer or through Medicare or Medicaid.