Georgia Quick Start: Meeting the Demands of Georgia’s Clean Energy Boom

Wednesday, September 6th, 2023

It’s no secret the demand for clean energy is rapidly rising. Global corporations throughout the clean-energy sector are spending billions to build facilities to manufacture a wide array of solar, e-mobility, and innovative battery products. The State of Georgia ranks as a top-choice destination for these projects, which are literally creating tens of thousands of jobs in the state.

How did Georgia keep winning these headline-grabbing investments?

One secret – that’s now out – is a 56-year-old program that has been providing company-specific workforce training: Georgia Quick Start.

Routinely named the top state workforce development program in the country, Quick Start has helped prepare more than 1.8 million Georgians for new jobs since its creation in 1967. Companies like Rivian, Hyundai Motor Group, and SK Battery America are benefiting from Quick Start’s ability to customize training and replicate the actual processes that will be used, creating a workforce ready to start production on Day One. The program’s free-of-charge job training for qualified companies has been utilized by a diverse group of manufacturing sectors, but the majority of its recent clients are now clean energy companies and their suppliers.

In June, the U.S. Secretary of Education spoke at Agnes Scott College and shared his praise of Quick Start as one of Georgia’s unique workforce-training assets. One of the best summaries of Quick Start’s impact in the clean energy space appeared recently in an online publication that specializes in that sector.

Reported in Canary Media:

Before Robert Howey started at the Hanwha Qcells solar manufacturing plant in Dalton, he didn’t know anything about solar. 

“He was hired to be a ‘tabber operator’ on the production line, where his role would be to watch over machines that solder silicon wafers together, an early stage in the making of a solar module. But he didn’t understand how his particular task fit into the overall process, which made him uncertain about how to do his job well. “I was really nervous about it,” he told Canary Media.

“Georgia Quick Start, a state-funded workforce training program, gave him the guidance he needed. In a week of on-ramping, trainers walked him through all the steps of making a solar panel, instruction that gave him the confidence to start his new career. Quick Start, he said, was ‘a lifesaver.’”

Testimonials like these in an article by Alison F. Takemura for Canary Media lend crucial details to how Quick Start is working to train the huge workforce needed to support Georgia’s booming high-tech manufacturing industry. 

Quick Start currently operates five training centers, is expanding its advanced manufacturing center, and is designing three new facilities for clean energy manufacturers and suppliers. One will be located in Bryan County, where Hyundai Motor Group is investing $7.59 billion in an electric vehicle (EV) and battery manufacturing “metaplant” with aggressive production timelines. The state-of-the-art Quick Start facility will be able to train 300 to 400 new Hyundai hires a week, proving that when companies need to move fast, Georgia moves fast, too. 

Learn more about Georgia’s workforce and education pipeline here