If the Technical College System of Georgia launches a new program, or tweaks an established one, you can bet there are jobs at the end of it. Its mission is to provide education that you can take to work.
“We never create a program just because it seems like a neat idea or we have a grant for it, ” said Joe Dan Banker, executive director of academic affairs for the Technical College System of Georgia. “We are always looking to supply the pipeline of workers that industries tell us they need.”
Here are some old and new programs designed to fill in-demand jobs in Georgia growth industries:
Welding, the joining together of metals through intense heat, is a necessary skill for construction companies and many other industries. “It’s an occupation we take for granted, and one that is desperately needed, ” said Banker. The shortage of skilled trade workers is nationwide. There are 83,211 construction job openings a year in Georgia. The Governor’s Office of Workforce Development and others are encouraging young people to become skilled trade workers (pipefitters, electricians, plumbers, carpenters, welders, etc.) through the Go Build Georgia campaign.
“We’re seeing construction trades programs across the state begin to pick up again, ” said Banker. “Welding is a building staple and an occupation that provides a very good living and career opportunities.” In metro Atlanta, you’ll find welding diploma programs at Atlanta, Chattahoochee, Gwinnett and Georgia Piedmont technical colleges. To learn more about careers in the building trades, visit www.gobuildgeorgia.com. “We never dropped our construction programs, so we’re ready to support the new growth in building in Georgia, ” said Baxter.
The new industrial systems technology degree program at Atlanta Technical College and certificates like the Advanced PLC and HMI Technician 1 and 2 offered at Georgia Northwestern College are examples of programs addressing changing industry needs.
“Schools are fine-tuning their manufacturing programs to prepare students for the high-technology environments of today’s employers, ” said Banker. “Because they are trained on up-to-the-minute processes and technology, graduates can walk out of school ready for work.”
They could find jobs in the reinvented flooring industry in North Georgia. A case in point: Engineered Floors, a large carpet manufacturer, announced last year that it will invest $450 million in two new manufacturing complexes in North Georgia that could employ up to 2,400 workers in the next five years.
Film and TV production
Thanks to some of the best tax incentives in the country, Georgia has become a hotspot for film and TV production. In 2012, television networks and production companies invested nearly $3.1 billion in Georgia. Part of that investment was the hiring of local talent, both onscreen and off.
To support the needs of production crews, Southern Crescent Technical College in Griffin is developing five new technical certificates of credit: Film and TV Production Accounting Assistant, Film and TV Production Administrative Support, Film and TV Production Construction and Scenic Painting, Film and TV Hair and Make-up Technician, and Film and TV Production On-Set Assistant.
“The nice thing about these certificates is that they naturally feed into existing accounting, business administration, construction, electrical, barbering or cosmetology programs for students wanting to acquire additional skills or earn a diploma or associate’s degree,” adds Banker.
“Health information technology (HIT) has been one of fastest growing occupations in the country for several years, and several technical colleges have programs, ” said Banker. This year, Gwinnett Technical College launched a one-year advanced certificate of credit to prepare health care workers or information technology specialists with the specific skills needed to serve in one of six critical HIT occupations. The program addresses a shortfall of workers in the HIT roles of health computer networking, software development, health care sales, customer service and support, and HIT training. Since the program is largely online it’s a great fit for working professionals. For information, see www.Gwinnetttech.edu/HIT. Gwinnett, Athens, Atlanta, Chattahoochee and Southern Crescent technical colleges also offer HIT degree programs for those wanting to prepare for the field.
“Athens Technical College piloted the biotechnology degree program for the technical system, and graduates will find employment in Georgia’s growing bioscience and biomedical industries, ” Banker said. According to a Georgia Power report in 2012, Georgia is home to 433 bioscience companies and ranks sixth among the fastest-growing states in bio-related employment. One of those new employers is Baxter International, which is building a manufacturing plant near Covington and projects to hire more than 1,500 workers. “Those with a biotechnology associates degree could go on for a higher degree or get a job with any company researching and making foods, medicines or other products, ” Banker said. See www.athenstech.edu/biotechnology for more information.
“If any Georgia citizen wants to change his life and find a better job, the Technical College System of Georgia is there for you, ” Banker concluded.