Education and Workforce

Diverse labor markets within a 45-minute drive time give employers access to a labor force of nearly 967,000,
many with the intermediate and high-level skills necessary to meet the needs of businesses.

The Polk County area labor force is well-trained and educated, with more than 42% of workers having some college experience. The area is committed to developing the next work-ready generation through the Polk County College and Career Academy, which trains high school students for in-demand jobs and career readiness at campuses in Cedartown and Rockmart. Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) in Rockmart provides career and technical training, certificates and degrees, while also working with local businesses through Georgia’s acclaimed Quick Start program.

Labor Force and UnemploymentAge Demographics

Rockmart Cedartown Polk County Polk Area 45-min. Drive Time
Labor Force 4,635 10,648 18,405 239,690 863,582
Unemployment 4.8% 3.4% 3.8% 3.2% 3.1%

*Polk Area includes, Bartow, Floyd, Haralson, Paulding, Georgia counties and Cherokee and Cleburn, Alabama counties
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, ESRI 2022

Education Attainment


Graduate Degree


Bachelor's Degree


Associate Degree


Some College


Completed High School

Source: ESRI 2022 

Technical and Career Education

Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC)

Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) is responsive to the training needs of employers and, at its Polk County campus in Rockmart, offers programs in Business, Health, Industrial, and Public Service Technologies. The campus also houses the Georgia Power Technology Education Center, demonstrating a strong partnership with the private sector.

Quick Start

Georgia Northwestern Technical College is also the provider in Polk County of Georgia’s acclaimed Quick Start program. Quick Start works with qualified companies to establish custom employee training programs, either on campus or on site, at no cost to the employer.

Top 10 Technical College Certificates (2021)

Industrial Mechanics and Maintenance Technology 1,097
Welding Technology/Welder 707
Cosmetology/Cosmetologist 520
Business Administration and Management, General 440
Automobile/Automotive Mechanics Technology/Technician 428
Accounting Technology/Technician and Bookkeeping 331
Child Care Provider/Assistant 260
Truck and Bus Driver/Commercial Vehicle Operator 195
Emergency Medical Technology 152
Nursing Assistant/Aide and Patient Care Assistant/Aide 147

Source: Georgia Department of Labor Area Labor Profile, 2021

Polk County College & Career Academy (PCCCA)

Polk County College & Career Academy (PCCCA) was created in a collaborative effort in 2014 to address the needs of business and industry in the community. Polk School District requires all students, as part of the local graduation requirement, to complete a career pathway and nearly 2,000 students are enrolled at PCCCA every school year. Across two campuses, PCCCA provides the opportunities for students to meet the district requirement while preparing them for high-skill, high-demand, high-wage careers that also meet the workplace needs of local business and industry.

In addition to the career and technical pathways available at PCCCA, the Polk School District currently offers many career pathways in the areas of Fine Arts, World Languages, and Advanced Academics to emphasize the importance of college and career readiness.


Polk County Schools also partner with Georgia Northwestern Technical College, the Polk County Chamber of Commerce, the HON Company and Great Promise Partnership in Project SUCCESS. Students attend a GNTC class after school, four days a week, then work in manufacturing at a competitive wage from 4-9 p.m. The program provides students with work-based learning in manufacturing along with course credit to give them a head start on post-secondary education or a career path.

Students apply for Project SUCCESS through the Polk School District College & Career Academy. The College & Career Academy fast-tracks high school students to a lifetime of success in competitive career fields. The College & Career Academy’s partnership with Georgia Northwestern Technical College and Georgia Highlands College also creates increased dual-enrollment opportunities to earn high school and college credit simultaneously. This combination of advanced academics and technical skill, with an embedded focus on work ethic, is a win-win for students, parents, local industry and the community.