Georgia Prepares its Workforce for the Future

In Jan. of 2014, Gov. Nathan Deal led an initiative to determine what types of skilled labor the businesses of Georgia would likely need most in the next decade. His timing is fortuitous as Georgia is expected to add at least 71,000 jobs in 2015 alone. Along with the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD), the University System of Georgia (USG) and the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG), Deal launched the High Demand Career Initiative (HDCI) to gather data on the State’s fastest growing industries and prepare the workforce of Georgia to fill these needs. On Dec. 10, 2014, the findings of this initiative were released.

“This report represents a long-term collaborative commitment to ensure that all Georgia companies have the support they need to be competitive in the global marketplace,” Deal said. “I am confident that the expertise provided by education and private-sector industry leaders will boost our state’s economy and maintain Georgia’s status as the No. 1 place in the nation to do business.”

The HDCI focused on the most prevalent and competitive industries in Georgia, such as agriculture, aerospace, automotive, defense, film and television, interactive entertainment, healthcare, life sciences, information technology, logistics and manufacturing. Popular trends consistent in the employee population of these industries included participation in internships and co-ops, the development of “soft skills” in younger employees and a move to hire more veterans.

Essentially, these top industries are pushing for earlier introductions to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) for students and partnerships between the business community and the local boards of education.

“One of Georgia’s greatest economic development assets is our reliable workforce,” GDEcD Commissioner Chris Carr said. “The High Demand Career Initiative gives us a unique opportunity to anticipate the needs of our existing industries in order to prepare Georgia students for the high demand jobs that will be available in five to 10 years.”

The GDEcD, USG and TCSG have taken these findings to heart and are wasting no time implementing their own programs to support the trends and prepare the future employees. As a result of efforts such as the HDCI, Georgia’s students will enter the local workforce highly skilled, prepared and globally competitive. Georgia will become not only the number one place to do business, but also the number one place to build a career.

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