In her first and only job, Fowler began her work with the department of labor fresh out of high school.
"I started five days after I turned 18, straight out of high school," Fowler said. "I love helping people and this has been a great group of people to work with -- these are not coworkers, these are friends."
Planning to spend more time with family on her father's farm, Fowler will turn over the reins to Couch -- a GDOL veteran of 32 years.
"Gail and I have worked together at the department of labor for about 32 years. It has been a privilege to work with her. She exhibits a great work ethic, she cares about our staff and she would never ask anyone to do something she would not do herself. She is very professional and always has a helping attitude," Couch said. "[As acting manager, I hope] to continue to foster a healthy relationship between the Department of Labor and our local businesses as well as the community. And to continue to serve our employers and job seekers with exceptional customer service.
"We would like to continue to increase awareness of our services offered to employers so that we may better match job seekers' skills with employers' requirements. Ultimately, this will help reduce the unemployment rate."
Couch is proud of the work done by the 20 employees of the Cartersville Career Center and looks to maintain a strong team-centered environment within the office.
In a written statement, provided by Fowler, she too expressed positive memories of colleagues, clients and community partners during her time with the Department of Labor.
"Words could never express how touched I am by the love and friendship this community has shown to me and my family over the years. I have grown up at the Cartersville Department of Labor [Career Center] and nothing can replace the relationships that have developed and grown," Fowler stated. "My most treasured friends are a result of my career with the Department of Labor. You will forever be in my thoughts and prayers as we continue to Buy Bartow, Work Bartow."
Fowler and Couch have both received numerous awards and recognition for their work. During her 34 years with the Department of Labor, Fowler has led local efforts to support veterans, maintained an active membership in various civic and industry organizations and remained involved with her church -- Mt. Tabor Baptist in Taylorsville.
In recent years, Fowler has led the Cartersville office through the challenges associated with the economic downturn. As resources and budgets shrunk across the state, the Cartersville Career Center has had to serve more clients with less staff.
"We've not been able to replace any staff that left, so our workload tripled with less staff," Fowler said.
The most difficult of recent challenges for Fowler and career center staff has been keeping up with Congress' changes concerning extended jobless benefits over the past five years with constant extensions and modifications.
For more information, visit the Cartersville Career Center at 19 Felton Place, call 770-387-3760 or visit www.careerdepot.org/cartersv.htm.