Last week, the U.S. Senate voted 51 to 50 to repeal the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) arbitration rule – with Vice President Mike Penc...
U.S. Senate Repeals CFPB Arbitration Rule: A Win for ATPC Member Companies and the Industry as a Whole
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ATPC Leadership Participate on Panel at Republican Attorneys General Event
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Inaugural P20 Conference a Success, Attention Turns to 2018 Event in Atlanta
November 1, 2017
Atlanta Journal Constitution's Atlanta Forward: Transaction Alley
May 20, 2015
Moderated by Rick Badie
Georgia’s financial transaction industry dominates that particular field so handily some in the business call it “Transaction Alley.” Today an advocate says future industry growth could stall unless the state produces a skilled, trained workforce for job vacancies. Elsewhere, writers opine on the “sharing economy” and the 40th anniversary of an advocacy agency for minority-owned supplier businesses.
Building Georgia’s tech workforce
By H. West Richards
A mom in Ohio swipes her credit card to buy a new baseball glove for her kid’s Little League season. A student in California buys his textbooks for the new semester online. A boss in Alaska buys a gift card for her employee of the month.
Georgia may not have been on their minds, but chances are their payments sped through our state. Georgia is the epicenter of the American financial technology industry, with more than 70 percent of credit, debit and gift-card transactions processed here in what is known as Transaction Alley.
American Transaction Processors Coalition member companies are hiring thousands of new workers. From 2007 to 2013, financial technology job postings in Atlanta increased 49 percent, double the rate in the country as a whole, according to a study by the Atlanta Regional Commission.But the industry’s explosive growth in Georgia could be hampered because our companies are having trouble finding the skilled workers needed to fill the positions. These companies are paying for talent to relocate from other states and countries.
This challenge is particularly frustrating when you consider Georgia has a large number of unemployed workers who would like nothing better than a good job. So what can be done?
In December, we launched the “ReUp Georgia” campaign, an economic development initiative to bolster the state’s economy and secure our position as the nation’s leader in financial technology. Our member companies are making commitments to invest in training, grow their Georgia operations and create new jobs.
One of our member companies, Worldpay US, just announced an innovative partnership with the state’s Advanced Technology Development Center. The company gave $1 million to the business incubator and pledged its senior leadership team’s time and talent to build a new financial technology accelerator.
But the industry cannot tackle this challenge on its own, particularly when so many other states are working overtime to entice our companies and their jobs away.
Our last two governors and their respective economic development officials have had some signature achievements in convincing major companies to relocate here. Those efforts cannot displace the work that needs to be done to support the industries that already call Georgia home.
We need the state’s leaders to commit to building the tech workforce to fill these jobs and attract new companies and thus facilitate continuous innovation.
Earlier this year, President Barack Obama launched the TechHire initiative which challenges cities and states to work with the private sector to expand training and access to tech jobs. The administration is offering $100 million in competitive grants to industry, schools and local governments that commit to tech training.
Already, more than 20 communities have joined the TechHire initiative, from the traditional tech powerhouses like the San Francisco Bay Area and New York City, to regional competitors closer to home like Chattanooga and Eastern Kentucky.
Georgia needs the same kind of concerted effort from its leaders. The financial technology companies already here are ready and willing partners. We are already working with the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia to develop America’s first financial technology curriculum to train new workers. The state’s economic development team seems open to examining new strategies for expanding and retaining the financial technology industry. These emerging partnerships represent a solid step in the right direction.
The day after announcing his TechHire initiative, President Obama came to Atlanta to address students at Georgia Tech. He told them, “Jobs and businesses will go wherever the best workers are.”
The president is right. If Georgia wants to grow its position as the center of gravity for financial technology in the country — and if the United States wants to stay the global leader in the industry — then government and the private sector need to work together to build the workforce we need.
H. West Richards is executive director of the American Transaction Processors Coalition.