The Georgia Department of Economic Development created the High Demand Career Initiative (HDCI) three years ago to bring business leaders and state leaders together for a productive dialogue. The initiative is more important than ever with Georgia’s rapidly growing and ever-changing economy. No doubt the program has been wildly successful for Georgia’s economy and workforce needs.
Yesterday, the Department of Economic Development held a Q&A with its HDCI manager, Jamie Jordan. It’s a good read given HDCI’s importance to Georgia’s economy and the good work he and the others are doing for our state. You can read more about the High Demand Career initiative here.
Q: Remind us, what is the framework and goal behind the Governor’s High Demand Career Initiative?
A: HDCI was created to provide a platform for ongoing dialogue between the State of Georgia and the business community to discuss current and future workforce challenges and to develop innovative solutions to those challenges. The initiative brings together the state agencies most responsible for workforce development to give the business leaders of our state an opportunity to talk about their workforce needs.
Q: We are now two years into this state-lead initiative, how has the program grown since its launch?
A: Over the past two years, we have traveled throughout Georgia hosting 17 public meetings and hearing directly from more than 120 employers. We received invaluable feedback regarding the workforce issues that our employers are facing and the ones they foresee in the future. We are now positioned to take the information that we have received and to develop innovative solutions to address the acute workforce challenges that were uncovered. That is one of the key tenants of the future strategy for the program.
Q: Which “in-demand” industries will the state focus on during the next steps of HDCI?
A: We will be focusing on a number of industries in the coming years, and some are still yet to be determined. We currently have two different task forces being developed that are focused on the Information Technology and the Film, Television, & Digital Entertainment industries. One is focused on addressing the acute need for software developers and computer programmers and the second is focused on the development of an above-the-line film workforce in the state of Georgia.
Q: What makes this initiative different than any other workforce development program in the state?
A: HDCI is unique in that it represents a true collaboration across state agencies, providing an avenue for the business community to get access to all of the relevant state resources that are needed to develop a world-class workforce. We want to offer the business community every opportunity to grow, expand and be successful.
Q: What’s next for HDCI?
A: A large piece of the future plans for HDCI will be focused on continuing to work closely with the business community to develop innovative solutions to the acute workforce problems that we face. This will involve the development of several task forces that will feature public and private representatives who provide the expertise that is needed to truly understand and address these issues. Additionally, we will also be working closely with communities and regions throughout the state to help foster at the local level the same communication and collaboration that we’ve experienced at the state level. We will be working with willing and ready areas to help develop the community partnerships that are essential for long-term public-private cooperation. We believe effective workforce development requires this local implementation to ensure accountability and sustainability.