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September 7, 2018

Economic Development Leadership Council Talks Higher Education, Local Talent

Metro Atlanta is a thriving region, backed by a renowned business climate and an unrivaled quality of life. The Metro Atlanta Chamber helps businesses evaluate the region for new or expanded operations. From business assistance services to economic analysis, the Economic Development division, with the support of partners throughout the area, helps to make expanding in Atlanta and moving here as simple as possible, serving as an advocate and project manager on behalf of relocating or existing companies.

Led by Mike Sivewright, president for the Atlanta region at JLL, the recent Economic Development Leadership Council meeting explored why companies such as Comcast, thyssenkrupp Elevators, and Synovus decided to locate their offices here. Bill Connors, president of the central division at Comcast; Steve Wedge, CFO of thyssenkrupp Elevators Americas; and Allen Barker, market president for the North Georgia Division at Synovus all expressed sentiments of growth and innovation as a result of locating their operations in metro Atlanta.

As the council meeting transitioned into a panel discussion with Connors, Wedge and Barker, the current talent pool came to the forefront of the conversation. Roughly 40 percent of employees for Comcast voluntarily relocated from other cities, and Connors disclosed Comcast’s initiative to source professionals with high-end technical and coding skills from the local talent pool.

“Because we recruit into technical positions,” he said, “we invest a lot of money into STEM initiatives at post-secondary institutions across the area.”

Right from the start, interns at Comcast are working with cutting-edge technology, and to that end, Comcast looks for talent with high-end technical and coding skills. Georgia Tech and the larger TechSquare community is a large source of this talent, including a range of other universities and technical colleges throughout the region. Thyssenkrupp Elevator has been partnering with the Georgia Tech Innovation Center to test new designs and technology, and Wedge also mentioned the hope for a recruiting center located at Georgia Tech in the future.

The council closed with public policy updates, including an overview of the upcoming Georgia gubernatorial/lieutenant governor races in November. VoteMetroATL.com was also mentioned as a valuable tool for voters to determine who their representatives are and make educated decisions at the ballots.  

Metro Atlanta is a recognized leader in economic development. As the industry continues to grow, the Chamber’s Economic Development Leadership Council will continue to convene partners around the region to tell their story. The council will next meet on Wednesday, October 31.

The 2019 calendar of council dates will be released early Q1. If you have any questions on how your organization can engage with the Chamber’s Economic Development Leadership Council, please reach out to Gregg Simon.

 

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