Augusta Tech kicks off inaugural mid-year CSRA economic outreach event with Atlanta Fed

Wednesday, July 14th 2021, 8:45 PM EDT

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - Augusta Technical College hosted its first Mid-Year CSRA Economic Outlook event with a special presentation by the Executive Vice President and Director of Research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Dr. David Altig, who says some of the biggest economic challenges we're facing as the economy recovers from the pandemic are labor quality/availability, cost pressures/inflation and demand/sales/revenue. 

Although the U.S. June job report was promising, job growth remains stagnant across the country, including right here in the CSRA. Altig says a big part of that is because people are relying on government funds, but says there are other roadblocks caused by the pandemic that are likely preventing people from getting back to work. “One of them is obviously concerns about the disease itself," he says. "So we think that that’s some element of keeping people out of jobs that are available.” 

Altig says other changes include the nature of the jobs that are available and the demands of workers. "There is necessity for the skill development environment to alter itself in a way," he says. "In collaboration with employers, for example, that actually provides people those doorways to finding the jobs that are actually going to be available.”

“We’re seeing major gaps in that middle-skill and low-skill individual that lost their job during the pandemic and want to come back," says Jermaine Whirl, the President of Augusta Technical College. "We are here as a potential gap-filler to provide workforce training, whether it’s short-term or long-term.” Augusta Tech offers programs in advanced manufacturing, healthcare, IT/Cyber and business, among others. “We feel like there’s a lot of opportunity in our area. We have individuals who might be structurally unemployed, so they might have worked retail or hospitality but they don’t have the skillset to work those higher, middle-skill jobs. What’s helped them advance is in some of those short-term programs so that they can be employed.”

The state is providing free HOPE Grant tuition to students enrolled in programs for high-demand jobs like aviation, automotive and business IT. You can learn more about the program and how to enroll HERE.

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