As businesses respond to the retirement cliff of baby boomers, the emergence of millennials, and rapid changes in technology, developing the next generation of workers has become increasingly important. Site selectors across the nation have found that the availability of a skilled workforce has become the top priority of businesses looking to relocate or expand into a new community—outranking incentives and all other economic factors. This trend is not unique to Cobb and has proven a pervasive challenge nationwide, prompting Governor Nathan Deal to launch the Governor's High Demand Career Initiative (HDCI) in 2014.
The HDCI was designed to engage the business community to identify the current and future workforce shortages facing Georgia, to identify persisting skills gaps, and to explore innovative approaches to addressing those shortages and gaps. Facilitated with the help of the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia, the HDCI confirmed the need for businesses to invest in talent pipelines that leverage partnerships between industry and education. These findings, though revealing and quite powerful, have limitations, as the implementation of them is best effective at the local level.
Cobb Workforce Partnership
Home to the state's most comprehensive educational infrastructure, as well as a thriving and growing business community, Cobb County has taken the lead in implementing the vision of the High Demand Career Initiative. In 2015, the Cobb Chamber engaged the Carl Vinson Institute of Government, who facilitated the HDCI, to replicate the full process on a county level—identifying current and future workforce needs and skills gaps—while going a step further than the state. Cobb intends to use the finding of our study to implement innovative approaches to education and skills training through the use of sector partnerships and community initiatives.
The Cobb Workforce Partnership is a coalition of both Cobb County and Marietta City Schools, Kennesaw State University, Chattahoochee Technical College, Georgia Highlands College, Life University, CobbWorks, and over 30 Cobb businesses—as a unified commitment to identify and address the workforce needs of our business community and to establish a pipeline of job-ready workers in Cobb. The vision is that every Cobb employer has an opportunity to educate and train their future workforce in partnership with educators as early as K-12, and every Cobb student is connected with career pathway opportunities in our community through every level of their educational track.
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In the News:
"[Carl Vinson] Institute's Cobb WOrkforce Development Program Adaps HDCI Methods to Local Needs"
For more information about the Cobb Workforce Partnership, contact Rob Garcia III at firstname.lastname@example.org.