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June 13, 2018

Educated Workforce Series Discusses New "Nexus" Degree

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Metro Atlanta is one of America’s leading centers for education with more than 275,000 students enrolled in 60 colleges and universities. Georgia is producing talent that is going on to create the innovations of tomorrow, and nurturing this pipeline of talent is a priority for many in business and education. This past week, the Metro Atlanta Chamber hosted an Educated Workforce Series luncheon session exploring new partnerships with the University System of Georgia (USG). The main topic of discussion – the new Nexus degree and what it means for the region’s FinTech industry.

The Nexus degree is a new college education credential created by USG in close collaboration with businesses and tech organizations from around the region. The goal of Nexus is to provide students with the skilled knowledge and hands-on experience that employers in high-demand career fields find so valuable.

“Employers need to fill talent demands sooner rather than later. The Nexus degree is a direct response to discussions with employers in high-demand career areas,” said USG Chief Innovation Officer Art Recesso, who introduced the degree to the assembly.

The degree will have initial priorities in the fields of FinTech and cybersecurity – two areas in which Georgia has already been recognized as a leader. The partnership is currently working to add IT, supply chain management, film, aerospace and mechatronics as priority fields for Fall. Areas such as health informatics, data science and blockchain will also eventually be added.

Nexus will consist of 18 hours of coursework with at least six hours in experiential learning – internships or in-the-field experiences. Curriculum is currently going through approvals by committee.

“Nexus will come up for review by August and September. This is how fast this is moving,” Recesso said.

The Educated Workforce series introduced a panel of guest speakers to give background on the creation process of Nexus. Panelists included American Transaction Processors Coalition (ATPC) Executive Director H. West Richards, InComm, Inc. Executive Vice President of Regulatory & Government Affairs Robert Skiba, Metro Atlanta Chamber Economic Development Director of Project Development Charlie Moseley and Recesso.

“We knew workforce would be a critical element as we thought about the playbook for ATPC,” Richards said. “Atlanta is the world capital of payment processing, and we need to be creating our own talent locally.”

Richards hoped that the Nexus curriculum would eventually lead to the creation of a standalone FinTech academy – a “game-changer” for Georgia as an industry leader.

“We had good growth, but we didn’t have a good way to attract talent,” Skiba said, speaking to InComm’s development. Nexus will provide a stream of talent, some with express focus areas in FinTech, to companies such as InComm.

“My team works to attract new companies to the region and support the growth of existing companies. We deal in storytelling and education, and usually the big question for companies is talent,” Moseley said. “Coming up with innovative solutions that are reactive to the business community’s needs helps us keep Georgia the #1 state to do business.”

The Metro Atlanta Chamber will be hosting a U.S. Chamber Foundation event on early education on June 27 as well as an unveiling of the new Brookings report on youth employment and job access on Aug. 14. Visit the MAC events page for more information on these events and more.