Atlanta Tech partners with city to launch job program with Acuity Brands

Don Mason, senior lab technician, measures the light of an LED post top lamp at Acuity Brands’ lab in Decatur in this 2016 photo. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

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Don Mason, senior lab technician, measures the light of an LED post top lamp at Acuity Brands’ lab in Decatur in this 2016 photo. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

The city of Atlanta is working with Atlanta Technical College and lighting company Acuity Brands to develop a paid job training program for the city’s students.

As part of the Atlanta’s pledge to create job opportunities for residents, the city is also going to contribute $1.8 million to complete Atlanta Tech’s Center for Workforce Innovation. Mayor Andre Dickens recently said the money will allow one of the city’s largest workforce development centers to create more pilot programming to accommodate more trainees and to expand their training in jobs in logistics, technology, health care and infrastructure.

Dickens said the contribution comes from revenue obtained through the deal the city made with the Centennial Yards Company to redevelop an area of downtown Atlanta known as the Gulch.

Atlanta Tech President Victoria Seals said the $1.8 million will further expand the job training programs at the school’s Center for Transportation and Logistics. Dickens said the city is also committing $50,000 to the college’s partnership with Acuity to launch its job training program. Acuity is contributing $150,000 toward their partnership program, as well.

Mayor Andre Dickens speaks during a press conference with Atlanta Technical College president Victoria Seals and Acuity Brands CEO Neil Ashe at Atlanta Technical College on Tuesday, September 27, 2022, in Atlanta.  Current and upcoming investments in the city's local workforce were announced. CHRISTINA MATACOTTA FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION.

Credit: Christina Matacotta

Credit: Christina Matacotta

The program with Acuity will be separate from the Center for Workforce Innovation, which was created in 2018 by the college and the Atlanta Committee for Progress in partnership with the city under then-Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.

Acuity CEO Neil Ashe said the Atlanta-based lighting manufacturer wants to give students a five-week training experience for exposure to electricians, commercial truck drivers, and lab technicians. He said these jobs will be vital nationwide and especially in Atlanta, which is where Acuity needs more hands for the testing and transportation of their products.

“We’re going to need to double the size of the grid in the United States over the course of the next 20 or 30 years,” Ashe said. “At the same time, the number of electricians in America is going down. So not only do we need twice as much capacity, the actual number of people in that role is going down.”

Funding from the city will be used to pay participant training, transportation and support as deemed appropriate for the program. According to the mayor’s office, Atlanta Tech is planning to recruit students for the Acuity program beginning next week. The program is slated to begin at the end of next month.

“Public-private partnerships work,” said Dickens. “They work by encouraging job growth and by offering targeted education and skills training to individuals by addressing the immediate needs of high demand professionals.”

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