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Gwinnett, Suwanee get regional awards

LAWRENCEVILLE - A playground got Suwanee regional recognition, while a program that teaches

job-hunting skills to students did the trick for Gwinnett County.

Both local governments took home a CREATE community award Friday during a breakfast for regional movers and shakers.

The Atlanta Regional Commission began handing out the awards last year.

"A lot of local governments in the region are doing a lot of innovative things, and this is a way to recognize them," ARC spokeswoman Grace Trimble said.

Suwanee got the nod for community building and involvement thanks to PlayTown Suwanee - a large playground that was built by 1,200 volunteers over five days in 2004.

The approach helped strengthen the community and increase citizen involvement, ARC said.

Gwinnett County took home a glass statue for educational excellence.

The reason: a program that teaches middle school and high school students skills needed to land a job, including basic interview skills, dress and conduct.

Each summer, the county hires about 100 young people to work at six aquatic centers and as summer camp

counselors.

Through that, the county realized some applicants needed to improve their interviewing skills and created the "Jobhunt Training Partnership."

In 2004, more than 2,000 students from nine schools participated.

The award categories are based on aspects of local government that citizens said are important to them, Trimble said.