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Metro Business Thought Leader Uncategorized

Atlanta companies, universities step up efforts to bolster workforce


By DeRetta Cole, Ph.D.

When you think of the nation’s top “technology towns,” Boston, San Francisco, and New York likely spring to mind immediately. But Atlanta should, too – it’s a fast-growing top technology town with more than 13,000 technology companies, and is ranked as one of the most mobile cities for small business and the No. 2 Most Wired City in the U.S. by Forbes. Metro Atlanta is leading the way as a high-tech hub for key technology areas including Internet security, payment processing software, digital media and gaming, and wireless mobility.
And with good reason, since Atlanta is outpacing the nation on job postings for in-demand, high-quality tech jobs.
The Metro Atlanta Chamber (MAC) recently released its MAC Workforce Trends Report which shows that online job postings in metro Atlanta have grown 4.5 times faster than postings nationally in several key industries, including supply chain and logistics, technology and bioscience.  Specifically, supply chain/logistics/distribution job postings grew 115 percent in metro Atlanta from 2010 to 2012. The number of job postings in health IT grew 167 percent over those two years, and the number of advertised positions in wireless mobility grew a whopping 202 percent over the same time period as well.
All of this is very good news for our region, and a positive sign that the job outlook in metro Atlanta looks very bright. MAC’s report shows us where the jobs are, and demonstrates the important growth of critical job industries in our region. It also demonstrates a pervasive need for skilled talent to fill these positions, and the Metro Atlanta Chamber is working with its partners to help bridge connections between employers and talent.
MAC’s Workforce Trends Report also shows that Atlanta is becoming a digital media super-hub, with almost twice as many digital media job postings per capita as the rest of the nation. Metro Atlanta job postings in digital media and gaming far outpaced the national average; there were more than 28,000 digital media postings in the last 12 months, which is a 48 percent growth in advertised positions over the last two years. The report also identified critical skill sets needed to fill digital media positions: visual design, video production, digital strategy, web journalism and publishing, web production and game design.
And universities are also stepping up to meet the demand. SCAD Atlanta offers a bachelor’s program in interactive design and game development, where students learn how to create video games, websites, apps and digital platforms. SCAD’s program is ranked one for the top game design programs in the U.S. by Princeton Review. Georgia Tech announced a new online master’s degree in computer science.
This is great news for companies looking for the next level of talent. At Turner, we’re focused on attracting strategic, strong talent to join our team. People may not think of Turner as a digital technology company, but we create, produce and provide branded news, entertainment and animation on television and other platforms – including mobile and digital – for consumers around the world.
For example, take the recent NCAA Men’s Final Four® games hosted in Atlanta in April. Turner Sports – a subsidiary of Turner Broadcasting – has an agreement with CBS Sports and the NCAA to broadcast all NCAA games and Final Four® games through 2024. This includes watching games on a digital platform or mobile device, in addition to watching on television. As part of this initiative, we had to ramp up our team, and we hired 100 technologists in 100 days. We wanted to attract the brightest, most skilled employees possible, and attract them to Atlanta. Working with our local partners, such as the Metro Atlanta Chamber and local universities and alumni associations, helps us do that.
And it’s been a great year for job seekers: several major companies have announced major job relocations or expansions in 2013, brining hundreds of jobs to the region over the next three years.  These include healthcare IT company athenahealth adding 400 jobs; AirWatch creating 800 mobility-related jobs, Greenway Medical Technology bringing 300 new health IT jobs, and Ernst & Young adding 400 technology jobs with its new Global IT Center.
With the talent coming out of our colleges and universities, the jobs available and the skills needed, the region’s job future looks bright to attract the best and brightest to Atlanta.
About the author:
Deretta Cole, Ph.D., is VP, Human Resources for Turner Broadcasting System and Co-Chair of MAC’s Workforce Development Council. She is responsible for partnering with the key executives in her respective client groups to create and implement key business initiatives as well as planning and recommending human resources strategies to build individual and organizational capability. She manages a team of HR professionals that together supports various business units in the Global Technology Operations of Turner Broadcasting.


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