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Forsyth welcomes gathering of GMRC
Region leaders learn about Lanier Tech

FORSYTH COUNTY — About 150 people from several nearby counties came to Forsyth on Thursday for the monthly meeting of the Georgia Mountains Regional Commission.

“It’s an important meeting because it’s our sister counties and one of the things that was clearly shown is that we’re bound by Lanier Technical College for it does for all of us,” said Forsyth County Commissioner Jim Boff.

“If you average it out, about every county gets about $5 [million] to $7 million due to the college due to jobs that are created and the educational opportunities provided.”

Forsyth’s government played host to Thursday’s meeting, which was held at the college’s Forsyth Conference Center. Lanier Tech President Ray Perren gave a presentation focused on ways the school can benefit communities and businesses.

While many of the offerings focus on traditional college courses, Perren noted that technical colleges can also design work force development programs specific any business’ needs.

In fiscal year 2013, he noted, the college had served some 18,000 students, helped to bring more than 500 jobs to the northeast Georgia area, and provided a capital investment of more than $40 million into the seven counties it serves.

The regional commission, more commonly referred to as GMRC, serves Forsyth and 12 other counties in northeast Georgia, including Dawson, Hall and Lumpkin. It works with the region’s governments to help “promote and guide proper development of human, natural, physical, social and economic resources.”

Also during the meeting, members heard a presentation on a new document staff created for Dahlonega to ensure new construction stays consistent with the city’s historical buildings.

In addition, they heard an overview report from executive director Danny Lewis, who pointed to several economic development projects staff had assisted member counties and municipalities with over the past several months, such as $1.6 million in various grants to help bring King’s Hawaiian Bakery to Hall County.

That project brought in more than 450 new jobs to the area.