Workforce & Education
From top-ranking colleges and universities to Georgia Quick Start — the No. 1 workforce development program in the country — Georgia invests in preparing talent. Locate or expand here, and you’ll find a versatile Georgia workforce that can meet a variety of needs. You’ll also be doing business in an employment-at-will and right-to-work state, with low unionization.
A pool of talent that runs deep
Georgia is where people want to work – especially young people. A few key metrics that define Georgia’s workforce:
- We’ve got a labor force of 5.3 million (Georgia is 8th in the U.S. in population, with over 10.8 million)
- We’re a draw for talent: Georgia is 7th in the nation for net domestic migration (2020-2021), with Atlanta as a Top 6 city for job seekers in the U.S.
- The median age here is 36.9 – younger than the U.S. median of 38.2
- Georgia has an especially strong talent pool in transportation and material moving (480,000 workers); production (304,000); and computer and mathematical occupations (nearly 177,000)
- The state’s leading specialized skills workers include: avionics technicians, aircraft assemblers, tire builders, cooling and freezing equipment operators, food scientists
- Georgia is also home to 52,000 software developers and programmers; 21,000 computer and information analysts; 44,000 engineers (6,000 industrial, 5,000 electrical, 2,500 aerospace)
- In the 2019-2020 academic year, colleges and universities located within 250 miles of Atlanta produced 200,000 new graduates (earning a bachelor’s degree or higher).
The No. 1 workforce training program in the U.S.
No state does more than Georgia to ensure workers meet the needs of companies in Georgia — and our program, Georgia Quick Start, has the No. 1 ranking to prove it. Georgia Quick Start has trained more than 1.3 million employees. Each training regimen is designed around the unique needs of each employer. The training is an in-kind, discretionary incentive to eligible, job-creating businesses in the state.
Founded over 50 years ago in 1967 — making it the first program of its kind in the U.S. — Georgia Quick Start is evidence of our ongoing commitment to workforce training for growing businesses in the state. Georgia Quick Start has set the standard for workforce training across the nation: Our No. 1 ranking across all surveyed site selection professionals goes back a remarkable 8 consecutive years.
The Technical College System of Georgia provides the training for free, and because all materials are proprietary to your company, you’re free to use them for future in-house training. For businesses creating jobs or upgrading the skills of current employees in Georgia, it’s a win-win — better trained employees, higher productivity, zero cost to your bottom line.
Quick Start is also flexible: Targeted instruction and hands-on experience can be provided in classrooms, mobile labs or right on site at your business. The program has trained employees in assembling autos…manufacturing machine components…sorting peanuts…growing bacteria for vaccines…and even making donuts.
Six specialized training centers worth knowing about
If you need workforce training in a few key areas, good news: Georgia has specialty centers across the state. They are:
Not far from the Port of Savannah, Georgia Quick Start delivers customized training in the Georgia Advanced Manufacturing Center, covering mechatronics, control systems, automation and robots, software, equipment and operation controls, and industrial technologies and networked wireless systems of sensors. The 48,000-square-foot center will be networked with five of the state’s technical colleges in the region.
Gulfstream and Savannah Technical College partner to train avionics technicians, and airframe and power plant mechanics at an aviation training center on the college’s campus. The 30,000-square-foot center offers four labs and a 5,000-square-foot hangar for hands-on learning.
Just east of Atlanta, in Stanton Springs, you’ll find the Georgia BioScience Training Center, which offers state-of-the-art technology used in the life sciences industry. The 40,000-square-foot, state-owned facility opened in 2015 with a customized program to support pharmaceutical giant Takeda Pharmaceuticals (formerly Shire), which had recently opened a plasma fractionation plant. The center’s flexible design, however, can accommodate the bioscience manufacturing processes of other companies.
Several levels of cyber education, from certificate through graduate school, are available in Augusta at the Georgia Cyber Center. The center — the single largest state investment in a cybersecurity facility in the nation — is a hub for research, training, partnerships, and startups. The center’s first building opened in July 2018.
The highly acclaimed Georgia Film Academy supports the workforce needs of the state’s film industry. Courses are offered across the state through the University System of Georgia colleges and universities and the Technical College System of Georgia. Students gain professional training in film production, with credits applying toward 2- and 4-year degrees. The program also helps students network, build resumes, and market themselves to work in the industry.
The University System of Georgia offers an online academy developed in partnership with fintech employers. Students at Georgia’s 26 public colleges and universities can take courses through the Georgia FinTech Academy through the system’s eCampus and cloud-based programs. The Academy allows learners to access the specialized educational experiences necessary to enter the fintech sector regardless of where they live in the state.
Georgia graduates are versatile, diverse – and in great supply
Each year, Georgia’s 148 postsecondary institutions award more than 150,000 degrees and certificates. These newly minted professionals continue to grow the state’s workforce and ensure a pipeline of qualified candidates for Georgia businesses.
Of course, education isn’t just about quantity, but quality — and Georgia scores high marks there, too.
According to the 2022 rankings published by U.S. News & World Report, Georgia is home to:
- 2 of the nation’s top 20 public universities (Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia)
- 2 of the nation’s top five HBCUs (Spelman College and Morehouse College)
So many of Georgia’s top high school students go to college here – because of HOPE
Georgia is a national leader in expanding access to college education, empowering the best and brightest young people from all walks of life. Georgia’s HOPE scholarship was the first merit-based state scholarship in the U.S. and continues to be one of the largest. The HOPE Grant provides tuition assistance to students pursuing a certificate or diploma. Since its launch in 1993, HOPE has provided more than $24.6 billion in scholarships and grants for 2 million of Georgia’s top students.
A separate HOPE Career Grant provides free-tuition training in 18 “high-demand” occupations through the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG). TCSG is where students pursue a 2-year degree or certificate.
Georgia also invests in its K-12 education system to strengthen the future workforce. Georgia’s public high school graduation rate has steadily increased over the years and is now 83 percent. Educators attribute this success in part to an emphasis on career and technical education.
The state also has 43 charter school systems and has received national recognition for the Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology – ranked 9th in the nation by U.S. News and World Report. Other high-ranking schools include Columbus High School (83rd). Niche.com ranks The Westminster Schools 26th in private K-12 schools in the U.S.; Pace Academy (71st); and the Fulton Science Academy Private School (74th).