Posted November 5, 2003 Atlanta
Between 2000 and 2002, Georgia lost 63,900 manufacturing jobs, and 60 manufacturers closed their doors for good. In terms of layoffs, the number of Georgia manufacturers slashing employment increased from 44 companies in 2000 to 110 companies in 2002.
Those statistics have spurred three state agencies to launch a new outreach effort that utilizes a Web-based business analysis program to help them allocate state resources toward growth opportunities - and address issues that could signal future challenges. The Business InSight program - a partnership between Georgia Tech's Economic Development Institute (EDI), the Georgia Department of Technical and Adult Education (DTAE) and the Georgia Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism (GDITT) - will provide assistance to the state's manufacturers.
"Existing industries create most of the new jobs in our economy, so ensuring their success is crucial," says Glenn Cornell, GDITT commissioner. "The Business InSight partnership allows us to maximize state resources to assure that these businesses remain viable and competitive, and provide jobs for Georgians well into the future."
The partners will initiate efforts with a pilot program in the coastal region that will target approximately 20 companies to identify industry trends, needs and opportunities. Using existing offices in Brunswick and Savannah, the partners will visit with and listen to senior executives on issues related to the market, industry, workforce and product or service of the company.
"This initiative to proactively identify how best to support these vital industries is one of the most exciting projects we've been involved with," says Jackie Rohosky, DTAE's assistant commissioner for economic development programs. "I anticipate that Business InSight could become one of the key applications that help us take workforce and economic development in Georgia into the 21st century."
Though the job losses at affected facilities usually make the largest headlines, the impact on communities goes deeper. For example, in the coastal Georgia region, a typical 100-employee chemical manufacturer translates to $34.6 million in generated revenues and $6.6 million in employee compensation. In other words, the state can't afford to lose such manufacturers.
EDI Director Rick Duke stresses the need to move quickly. "As a coordinated team of state service delivery organizations, we want to approach those key companies and offer to assess where they are now and assist them with strategies and implementation that will make them as competitive as they can be," he says. "Let's not wait until it's too late."