Surrounded by supporters wearing "Go Build" hardhats, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (R) on Jan. 17 announced the creation of Go Build Georgia, an initiative aimed at promoting careers in the skilled trades.

The governor even enlisted the assistance of Mike Rowe, host of the Discovery Channel's "Dirty Jobs," to promote the program. Rowe, who is involved with the original Go Build organization in Alabama, offered his support of the Georgia program and will be featured in ads.

Despite the industry's current high unemployment rate, the governor contends that firms based in Georgia will need to fill an estimated 16,500 skilled- trade jobs in the near future.

The initiative is the result of efforts by the Alabama Workforce Development Initiative (AWDI), a Birmingham-based 501(c)3 organization that helped create the Go Build brand in 2010. Since then, the Construction Users Roundtable has endorsed the program.

AWDI worked with the Georgia Office of Workforce Development to establish the program and will support the group via the websites and, says Robin Oliver, a spokesperson for Go Build.

The initiative focuses on promotion and education. In Alabama, the program is funded by companies that pay a fee of about $90 for each $100,000 in skilled- trade labor they employ.

In Georgia, the Office of Workforce Development (OWD) will oversee the project. No state funding will be used, says Catie Campbell, public-affairs officer with OWD. The state is using a federal grant to launch and promote the program via a six-week "tour" of schools, beginning in February, by OWD officials.

Industry support in Georgia has not yet surfaced, but backers expect the program will follow Alabama's effort.

"[Associated Builders & Contractors of Georgia] members are excited about the opportunity that Gov. Deal's new Go Build Georgia initiative offers our industry and young adults looking for a great career path," Bill Anderson, president of ABC of Georgia, said in an e-mail.

The Construction Education Foundation of Georgia will work with Go Build Georgia, says Anderson.