The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) is the state agency responsible for both attracting and growing businesses within Georgia. As part of this effort, the GDEcD’s Workforce Division and Centre of Innovation for Aerospace obtained a grant award from the Department of Defense’s Office of Economic Adjustment in order to study current Department of Defense contract work that is being conducted in Georgia. and formed the GUARD Initiative.
The GUARD Initiative is GDEcD’ s effort to understand the value of Department of Defense contract work in Georgia, the jobs that are affected, and the direct and induced impact to the state. This information can assist communities and companies that may be affected by changes in Department of Defense spending to identify new opportunities and become more resilient by expanding their customer base.
The Middle Georgia Charrette and Regional Planning Project will include the 11 counties within Middle Georgia. The initiative will build on the existing defense industrial base, and explore opportunities to diversify the regional economy from dependence on Department of Defense contracts. The intent of this project is to assess Middle Georgia’s strengths, and determine opportunities to develop business in other markets. Using this information, the goal is to provide a road map to an economy that is more resilient to DoD spending fluctuations.
The project will:
- Explore the regions capabilities and determine where the “islands of excellence” lie by utilizing the building blocks present in the region; such as Military, MRO, Aerospace, Defense, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Agriculture, Software development, Education, Supply Chain management, and Engineering Services. This will determine the “center” where the region can focus and capitalize its efforts to ensure future economic viability.
- Develop a workforce strategy to support Middle Georgia.
- Review the defense engineering shortage in the Robins AFB Region and make recommendations to develop a recruitment/marketing plan focused on engineers entering the Middle Georgia workforce. Also provide recommendations on how to promote the area as a software engineering hub.
- Review opportunities and provide recommendations to assist existing Middle Georgia companies in achieving professional certification programs, which can open the door to additional opportunities and career paths (i.e. available grants for DoD contractors in Lean Six Sigma, PMP, etc.).
- Research and provide recommendations on marketing strategies to recruit and maintain companies located outside the State of Georgia that have been identified as holding large contracts with RAFB.
The project will incorporate wide and deep stakeholder engagement, asset mapping, social network mapping and scenario-based strategic planning. This will lead to an Action Plan which has been informed from the various stages of the process, and an implementation road map for the 18months following on from the conclusion of the project.