Georgia’s jobs of future call for teamwork, technical skills: Employers

The No. 1 attribute that business leaders say will they want in their employees is the ability to collaborate, according to a report to Gov. Nathan Deal on high demand careers.

The report also states the top five careers of the future in Georgia are mechanical engineer, electrical engineer, welder, machinist, and computer numerical control operator, according to the report.

For these technical skills to provide their full value, employees must have “soft skills.” The report defines soft skills in terms that boil down to collaboration:

Younger employees tend to fall short in soft skills, according to the report.

Employers also have trouble finding potential workers who can pass background screenings and drug tests, according to the report on the Governor’s High Demand Career Initiative.

Deal released the report Dec. 10. It is the product of a series of listening sessions held around the state since Deal formed the initiative in January and called for it to be led by the Georgia Department of Economic Development, University System of Georgia, and the Technical College System of Georgia.

The report comes as a December report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says Georgia continues to have the highest unemployment rate in the nation. The BLS reported that 364,700 Georgians were unemployed in October. Georgia’s unemployment rate was dropping more slowly than most other states in the south, according to the report.

Some comments from businesses may explain why Georgia’s unemployed are finding it so difficult to get a job. Here are a few snippets:

The next steps for the High Demand Career Initiative involve an ongoing collaboration between industry and government to ensure that Georgia’s education system is offering skills that will help people get and keep jobs.

Industry examples include:

Georgia Power collaborating with South Georgia Technical College to create an electrical lineman program, whose graduates will fill a looming shortage of linemen;

Pratt & Whitney collaborating with Muscogee County’s school district and Columbus Technical College to bring in high school interns. So far, 54 interns have participated and half earned jobs with the company after graduation.

On the government side, Deal has proposed the state Legislature agree to expand financial aid available to students enrolled in technical colleges in some high demand training programs.

The governor also proposed that the state’s Board of Education allow computer programming credits to count toward requirements for math, science and foreign language. Deal also has asked the Board of Regents to count those credits for admission to its institutions.