Georgia’s Speaker of the House, David Ralston of Blue Ridge, is the subject of an interview in this month’s edition of Capitol Ideas, a magazine published by the Council of State Governments. Using a question and answer format, the story provides some insight into the speaker’s thinking in areas including education and workforce development.
After mentioning the nationwide need for a limited government that lives within its needs, Ralston cited career and educational readiness as the biggest issue facing the southeast region in the upcoming year.
What do you see as the most pressing issue facing states in your region in 2015?
“I think at the top of the list has to be career and educational readiness in terms of preparing our students and our citizens for the 21st century workforce. Economic development is critical, I think, to the future of our region and workforce readiness is something that we can’t overemphasize because that, in my view, is the most important component of a sound economic development strategy.”
What are the most important steps states can take to strengthen their workforce?
“I think, again, a strong focus on educational improvement and educational reform, whether it’s at pre–K or in the early years of elementary going on into college. Our technical colleges, I think, are a very important part of strengthening our workforce.”
Later in the interview, Ralston talks about how food insecurity can limit the ability of children to get a good education, and the importance of rural economic development and helping residents not living in a metropolitan area to find employment. He also talks about the steps the Peach State has taken to make it easier for veterans and those with criminal records to find employment.