Savannah’s Economic Opportunity Authority launches program to help people get on a career path

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — A ribbon cutting held Friday signaled the official start of a new job training and life skills program.

But many at Savannah’s Economic Opportunity Authority (EOA) say it’s more than that — it’s an effort to pull people out of poverty and get them a job that launches a career.

“The mission for EOA is to help individuals become self-sufficient,” said EOA’S Executive Director Tom McBeth. “We don’t want to be thought of as just a handout program, we want to be thought of as a hand up and an opportunity to actually help people become self-sufficient.”

McBeth says the program will initially offer classes and training with employers in the hospitality industry.

That’s because recent contact with temp agencies indicated that there were up to 500 jobs in hospitality, but not enough qualified applicants to fill those positions.

“There’s a huge amount of hospitality jobs in Savannah and what we’d like to do is offer help and training to get people ready for those jobs so those employers don’t have to go outside the Savannah area,” said McBeth.

She says they’re working hand in hand with employers, and part of the program will include actual training at hotels and other hospitality-related employers.

Classes are also being offered at the EOA building on West Anderson.

“That’s important because we hear that people can’t attend training classes because they don’t have transportation,” says McBeth. “Well right in this community and here at EOA with our Head Start program, we have over 600 parents and a lot of them are not employed. They can come right here and take classes while their kids are in class.”

McBeth also indicates that training in other industries will eventually be offered.

“We have a community here where there’s a lot of unemployed residents and we want to help them get back on their feet and get jobs,” she told us. “You have to have the desire to want to work you want to do better and so this program will give you that opportunity and it’s not just hospitality. If you’re not interested in that then come and tell us what you are interested in.”

To find out more about the program, call the EOA at 912-238-2960 and ask for extension 132.

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