Technical Education Fuels Economic Growth in Georgia

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For decades, area employers have turned to technical colleges as their partner in workforce development. Now, with career programs in high growth industries, consistently high job placement rates for grads and very affordable tuition, technical college is suddenly on everyone”s radar screen — students, parents, employers and even the folks at Harvard University.

A recent Harvard study just revealed something shocking to many. Not every employer is searching for a new hire with a four-year degree.

So, what do employers want? Turns out, technical education and hands-on learning may be the best background to lead to a job in today”s changing economy.

The Harvard report noted that out of 47 million new jobs that are expected to be created by 2018, only one third will require a bachelor”s degree or higher. Thirty percent of new jobs will go to hires with two-year degrees or occupational certificates – including healthcare professionals like nurses and dental hygienists, as well as construction managers and electricians.

“We are the only developed nation that depends so exclusively on its higher education system as the sole institutional vehicle to help young people transition from secondary school to careers,”# says Robert Schwartz, academic dean of Harvard School of Education and co-author of the study, “Pathways to Prosperity.”#

Underscoring this, in Georgia eight of the 20 fastest growing jobs are related to health services and five are related to computer technology. The state has also identified strategic industries that are vital to Georgia”s growth in the coming years, including healthcare, aerospace, life sciences, logistics and transportation, energy and the environment, and agribusiness.

In the healthcare field alone, over the next four years the metro Atlanta region will need to fill 27,000 jobs ranging from nursing to emergency medical services to health information technology.

Programs of study in healthcare and all of these high growth industries are available at Georgia”s technical colleges. In all, the Technical College System of Georgia offers more than 600 program options in fields that range from computer information systems to business and finance to early childhood care and education, as well as culinary, construction, automotive and scores more.

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