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Region’s workforce development plan focuses on healthcare, IT, transportation and logistics

By David Pendered

Healthcare, information technology, and transportation are the three industries on which workforce development boards across metro Atlanta intend to focus their efforts over the next five years, according to a draft version of the plan.

The goal is to help individuals get the skills necessary to get a quality job. Some of the occupations that are projected to have a high demand for new workers offer low wages, according to the draft of the Metro Atlanta Regional Workforce Plan.

For example, the three largest industries in 2015 account for nearly a third of all employment in the region. They also generally pay less than the region’s overall average. The three sectors are healthcare and social assistance; retail trade; and professional, scientific and technical services.

The living wage for a one-adult/one-child household in metro Atlanta is $44,600, according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s living wage calculator.

These industries were chosen for reasons including their size, their projected growth rate, demand for workers, existing skill gaps, relevance in multiple counties, and the accessibility and quality of jobs offered, according to the draft plan.

That’s not to say that these are the only industries that are to receive attention:

  • “While these three in-demand industries were selected as the targets for the Metro Atlanta Region, some of the local boards have identified additional industries to focus on within their specific areas. These are described in each of the Local WIOA Plans that supplement and complement this Regional Plan.”
Job skills

The top skills required in job postings in 2015 align with the three industries that are targeted by workforce development plans. Credit: Metro Atlanta Regional Workforce Plan

The regional plan covers a geography that consists of Atlanta and the counties of Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry and Rockdale.

Individual plans have been created for Atlanta, and Cobb and DeKalb counties. Workforce development plans for remaining counties are combined into one plan.

The workforce development agencies are required by federal law to create five-year plans. The state has to have one, as well. Such plans are required by the Workforce Development Act of 1998, which succeeded the Job Training Partnership Act. The JTPA programs were overseen at the local level by Private Industry Councils.

A public comment period is open through Aug. 14. Comments can be emailed to regionalwioaplancomments@atlantaregional.com.

Here are highlights of the three industries as outlined in the draft plan:


  • “Employment in the healthcare industry is expected to continue to grow rapidly, expanding employment by 25 percent, or over 50,000 new jobs. Annually, the industry is expected to have 18,700 job openings in the region, due to both new demand and replacement demand. Unlike many industries, new demand (jobs created from employment growth) account for more than half of these openings. General and Medical Surgical Hospitals are projected to drive employment growth in the industry, adding over 4,000 jobs and 3,800 jobs, respectively.”

Information technology

limousine service

The taxi and limo service sector is expected to shed jobs, while the broader transportation sector is expected to grow in the aviation and trucking sectors. Credit: limojl.com

  • “Growth in Information Technology is expected to continue over the next five years. The industry is expected to add over 14,500 jobs, expanding employment by 15%. Growth is primarily driven by the Custom Computer Programming Services, Computer Systems Design Services, and Software Publishers sectors.
  • Annually, the Information Technology industry is expected to have over 7,300 job openings. The employment demand will largely be driven by replacement demand, which accounts for 61% of annual employment demand.”


  • “Growth in the industry is projected to continue, but at a lower rate over the next five years. Specifically, transportation and logistics in the metro Atlanta region is expected to add 5,700 jobs, expanding employment by 4 percent. The sectors that demonstrated strong growth over the past five years are expected to continue on the trajectory, while some sectors that provide local retail transportation services, such as taxi and limousine services are expected to shed jobs.”


David Pendered

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow.


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