Excerpt from the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Full story can be found here.
Cobb County has become a hot ticket for companies thinking about expanding or relocating. In January 2018, the county had 23 firms in its “active project pipeline.” Today it has 62.
One of the major reasons for this new-found interest is an organization known as the Cobb Workforce Partnership.
Spearheaded by the Cobb Chamber, the partnership was launched in 2015 and brings together school systems, universities, government agencies and the corporate sector. Among those involved are Kennesaw State University (KSU), Chattahoochee Technical College, Georgia Highlands College, Georgia Tech, Life University, Cobb WorkSource, Cobb County and Marietta City schools, and more than 30 Cobb businesses. All are dedicated to identifying and addressing workforce needs and establishing an efficient way to supply companies with job-ready talent, said Sharon Mason, president and CEO of the Cobb Chamber.
The county grew 27,000 jobs over the past five years, she said, and indications are the rate of growth will increase. Cobb’s workforce education initiative “has made a tremendous difference for the companies we are recruiting since our proactive approach brings together all the elements necessary to make sure businesses have the right kind of talent,” Mason added.
One of the key components of the initiative is IgniteHQ, an independent nonprofit started in 2016 through a partnership with KSU and in collaboration with the Cobb Chamber. The organization supports start-up companies and entrenpreneurs by connecting them to funding sources, mentorships and work space.
“Being an entrepreneur and running a business is different than having a job…because you have all the jobs,” said Mark Hubbard, CEO of IgniteHQ. That fact “requires some kind of support structure or connective tissue between the resources that exist in the larger ecosystem.”
In 2018, IgniteHQ launched two new innovation labs at its headquarters, one focused on social innovation and impact investing, and the other on blockchain and other cryptocurrencies.
Pamela Whitten, president of KSU, said the university’s students are major beneficiaries of IgniteHQ and use its services for networking, workshops and locating potential investors.
“Many are also working their way through school and have a work ethic, attitude and energy unique to a college population,” she said, adding that IgniteHQ’s partnership with the Cobb Chamber helps KSU students access local business support along with college.
Original post from Atlanta Business Chronicle. Read full story here.