GDOL: 'A resource, not a last resort'
by Matt Shinall
Jul 10, 2011 | 2396 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Through education and community involvement, members of the Bartow County Employer Committee are spreading the word about labor resources valuable to businesses of any size.

Meeting monthly, the local employer committee is made up of officials from the Georgia Department of Labor and members of the business community. Each month, the committee provides lectures and discussion on topics concerning human resources, including labor laws, tax rates and available resources.

"The state of Georgia has one of the most active employer committees in the nation," said Jennifer Stephens, GDOL employment marketing representative. "The employer committee is a voice for these employers and that's why we encourage people to be a part of the committee. It doesn't cost anything and we provide speakers throughout the year that will talk about issues that are of interest to them."

The employer committee will meet Tuesday at the Cartersville-Bartow County Chamber of Commerce for a networking event with human resource professionals and business representatives. One of the advantages for small businesses participating in the employer committee, as pointed out by Deborah Sexton, committee chair and owner of Sexton Administrative Services, is forming relationships with those formally trained in human resources.

Returning to the typical second-Tuesday schedule on Aug. 2, the Bartow Employer Committee will feature guest presentations from experts on newly passed legislation effecting employers.

"The seminar will focus on updated information on laws passed by the legislature that is of primary interest to employers. It is designed for business owners, human resource managers, supervisors and entrepreneurs. The seminar will be led by Melanie Stockwell of Atlanta, deputy commissioner of legal and policy procedures for the GDOL and legislative liaison Kash Trivedi, also of Atlanta," stated a GDOL news release.

More services and resources are available free of charge to members of the business community at the Cartersville Career Center at 19 Felton Place.

"We've got veteran staff here in this office, not to mention people from central office in Atlanta that will come talk to the group about any issues they have. One of the biggest issues is how to avoid the pitfalls of the unemployment process," Stephens said.

Beyond monthly meetings, the employer committee takes pride in their philanthropic efforts, collecting donations through various means throughout the year but culminating in the December Hoops for Hope, the organization's largest fundraiser. Each winter, Hoops for Hope kicks off the recreational basketball season with a charity tournament benefiting Bartow Give a Kid a Chance and scholarship recipients.

In past years, the employer committee has been the single largest contributing organization to Bartow Give a Kid a Chance. The annual program provides school supplies and basic hygiene services for local children.

Entering their ninth year of Hoops for Hope, the employer committee has also begun, in recent years, to award need-based scholarships to graduating seniors. The committee now hands out five scholarships, four through the Etowah Scholarship Foundation and another granted independently.

"With the way the economy is, the need is greater every year," Stephens said. "I'm sorry to say the proceeds have not been greater every year, they go up and down, but we're certainly grateful for every little bit."

Sexton commented on the personal impact upon meeting scholarship recipients after years of fundraising efforts.

"That's when you really get to appreciate more of our cause because they're letting you know, genuinely, how much they appreciate it. Then you get a little involved in them emotionally because you start learning where they're going to school and what their hopes and dreams are about," Sexton said. "Just knowing that our scholarship helped get them to their dreams -- it's worthwhile."

For more information on the Bartow Employer Committee, contact Stephens at 770-387-3760 or by email at jennifer.stephens@dol.state.ga.us.