Georgia employers spoke and the state listened.
In response to a critical need for skilled workers in several key industries, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal launched the High Demand Career Initiative in 2014. Initially, the state worked with key employers in strategic industries around the state to identify current and future workforce needs.
Now that these needs have been identified, the Universities and Technical College Systems of Georgia, including Georgia Tech’s Savannah Campus, have developed curricula to address workforce shortages and provide training in high-demand and well-paid careers.
The initiative seeks to create public and private partnerships that will develop a locally trained, reliable workforce that can sustain the state’s current thriving industries and attract new companies.
A great example of this public-private partnership is in the information technology sector. One of the findings of the initiative was an acute need for web developers, software developers, and computer programmers. These positions are vital — not just in the information technology sector but a wide variety of industries to include agriculture and food, aerospace, automotive, defense and logistics and transportation.
In response, the Georgia Tech Savannah campus launched the Coding Boot Camp. The 24-week, part-time course allows students to learn a new, highly-valued skill while working at their current jobs. Web development jobs are projected to grow 20 percent by 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In addition to gaining skills and competency in front-end and back-end Web development, Boot Camp students receive career-planning assistance, a robust portfolio and opportunities for internships. Successful completion of the course culminates in a Georgia Tech certificate in Full Stack development, the only university backed program in the state.
Companies seeking to develop employee skills may be eligible for cost reimbursement through the Incumbent Worker Training program. The reimbursement is facilitated by the Georgia Department of Economic Development working through WorkSource Georgia. The funding is based on a sliding scale depending on the employee size of the company. Companies with 50 or fewer employees receive 90 percent back; those with 50-100 employees receive 75 percent and companies with 100 or more employees get a reimbursement of 50 percent.
The technical college system also makes available some much targeted training to support high demand careers in areas such as commercial truck driving, early childhood care and education, health science, industrial maintenance, movie production set design, practical nursing, precision manufacturing, and welding/joining technology.
Providing training for these in-demand positions benefits Georgians, Georgia companies and the state. Georgians can qualify for well-paid positions that keep them close to home and family. Georgia companies avoid paying high relocation costs for out-of-state employees and have a greater chance of retaining employees because they are already home. And the state benefits from the reputation of being a great place to do business. Not only will Georgia’s current business partners want to stay here, but new businesses will want to move here. Georgia Tech Savannah is proud to part of the solution for a better tomorrow.
William J. Astary, an industry veteran with 25 years of senior management and executive level experience, is director of industry strategic partnerships at Georgia Tech-Savannah. He can be reached at 912-963-6976 or firstname.lastname@example.org.