University System of Georgia officials announced a statewide initiative Tuesday to create a talent pipeline for Georgia’s fast-growing financial technology (fintech) business sector.
According to the announcement by Chancellor Steve Wrigley and the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, they are creating a hub at Georgia State University’s Robinson College of Business for all 26 colleges and universities in the system to learn and train more students for careers in the financial technology industry. This, they say, is designed to address a labor gap in the state.
Fintech is one of six sectors identified by Gov. Nathan Deal’s High Demand Career Initiative. A segment of the financial services industry, Fintech uses new technologies to lower the costs and decrease time of financial transactions. In Georgia, more than 40,000 people are employed in fintech, which generates more than $72 billion in annual revenue
“When we released the College 2025 report, we meant what we said about preparing graduates with innovative approaches,” said Wrigley. “The Georgia FinTech Academy is an innovative response to the call from the fintech industry for more and better workers. With the strength of all 26 institutions of the University System of Georgia behind it, I believe fintech will see immediate results from this new program.”
Officials say the Georgia FinTech Academy will prepare individuals to enter fintech or transition from another career through degree programs, executive and continuing education, and apprenticeships and internships providing the practical experience required by employers.
Continued growth and expansion of Georgia’s fintech sector is predicated on meeting an escalating demand for talent, including producing 5,000 new hires by 2020 – 95 percent of whom must possess industry-specific functional experience, according to Tuesday’s announcement.
FIS, a financial software, services and global business solutions company with offices in Atlanta, is one of the founding partners of Fintech.
“FIS is proud and excited to be a founding partner,” said Denise Williams, chief people officer at FIS. “The academy represents a true partnership between a visionary university system and the corporate world to accelerate the development of tomorrow’s fintech talent. The proposed curriculum and emphasis on apprenticeship, along with the academy’s location in the payments hub of Atlanta, are a powerful combination. We applaud the University System of Georgia for its vision and commitment to fintech, and we look forward to working with them and the other founding partners to realize the potential of the academy.”
The curriculum was developed in conjunction with fintech employers to address their priority needs. It will span the University System of Georgia with virtual access to online courses and degrees through USG’s eCampus and cloud-based talent development programs. In addition to offering courses virtually across the entire state, the Georgia FinTech Academy will have two physical locations, both located in Atlanta at Georgia State University’s Robinson College of Business.
The academy will have learning spaces, innovation labs and research facilities downtown at 55 Park Place. The downtown location will also house the academy’s executive offices and will serve as the single point of contact for employers seeking to hire fintech-ready talent from any of the institutions in the USG.
Georgia State’s Buckhead Executive Center will offer graduate programs, executive and continuing education, as well as boot camps. The academy plans to offer courses for the USG’s upcoming nexus degree in fintech. The nexus degree is a college education credential approved by the Board of Regents on Feb. 13 that combines essential knowledge with applied experience. The new degree expands on the USG’s existing portfolio of associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. It will include 18 hours of coursework – 12 hours in upper-division level courses and six hours in experiential learning such as internships or in-the-field experiences – in addition to 42 hours of general education coursework.