Columbus, GA is a STEAM Community

STEAMColumbus, Georgia is a science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) Community that has everything a business needs to succeed in today’s global economy. When it comes to access to talent, Columbus more than exceeds expectations. Columbus also provides businesses with a progressive business environment in an ideal location, while offering their employees access to a high quality of life.

Columbus’s Roots are in STEAM

Columbus, Georgia is defined by a culture of innovation, collaboration, and business success that dates back to the 1800s when the community was first defined by steam - the steam rising from the local mills. As work at the mills began to decline, other businesses quickly established a foothold and prospered, transforming the City into the modern STEAM community it is today. Columbus can trace its foundational success to the major corporations that call it home, and have for decades. Today companies like Aflac, Char-Broil, Royal Crown Cola International, Synovus, TSYS and W.C. Bradley Co. are still growing and prospering in Columbus.  Companies with a more recent presence in the Columbus region include Anthem BlueCross and BlueShield, Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, and Pratt & Whitney. Together, these corporations have become a part of and helped to shape the city’s STEAM ecosystem.

STEAM is a Defining Characteristic of Columbus, Georgia

The collaborative spirit of the Chattahoochee Valley, along with its many public-private partnerships, have helped to transform Columbus into a vibrant and modern STEAM community. Companies like Synovus, a financial services provider, are headquartered in Columbus and have been part of the City’s historic transformation. Pratt & Whitney has leveraged the City’s STEAM assets to grow its aerospace manufacturing company. Since 1983, TSYS has used local talent to grow their payment processing company into global success story. Newcomers like IACT Health, a medical research institute, have also benefited from access to local talent and support when building an international corporation. These and other STEAM companies in fields like cybersecurity and robotics are finding that Columbus has the assets and support they need to flourish.

STEAM Companies in Columbus Have Access to Key Talent

Through the city’s transformation from a mill culture to a modern STEAM community, one of the things that remains consistent is the talent and dedication of the Columbus region’s workforce. Their contributions in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) continues to make companies that are located here thrive.

The search for candidates to fill STEAM positions leads many companies to Columbus State University. The University is producing large amounts of talent while training the next generation of STEAM leaders. Columbus Technical College and Columbus State University have computer science, engineering, cybersecurity, robotics and mathematics programs that are producing high-quality talent with practical experience thanks to resources like the Coca-Cola Space Science Center and Columbus Regional Mathematics Collaborative. Some of these programs are nationally ranked, with Go Grad listing the University as a top ten school for its’ Master of Applied Science degree with a concentration in cybersecurity. Additionally, CSU’s Robotics Certificate Program provides students with the hard skills necessary to enter this highly competitive industry. Troy University, Chattahoochee Valley Community College, and Columbus Technical College are also engaged in training the next generation of STEAM leaders. In fact, Columbus Technical College, through its Economic Development Department, provided training assistance to 264 companies and nearly 40,000 training hours in 2018.

Corporate-academic partnerships are further adding to the student’s preparedness, which allows companies, like Synovus, to recruit interns directly from the university’s cybersecurity program, train them, and then select and hire the brightest talent after graduation.

For the students being recruited out of college, their new job is the culmination of hard work that began as part of their K-12 education. The Greater Columbus Georgia Success Ready program is the region’s Cradle-to-Career (C2C) Initiative and has been implemented to ensure there is a pipeline of workers ready to fill STEAM positions in the next decade and beyond. By the time a student enters the workforce, they may have completed a STEAM focused K-12 program in addition to graduating from a local college. 

STEAM talent is also coming out of the 11th Engineer Battalion based at Fort Benning, Georgia. There are approximately 1,300 soldiers leaving active duty every year and entering the regional workforce. Many are hired into the private sector, after being fully trained and tested in key positions.

Support for STEAM Companies in Columbus

The Columbus 2025 initiative is another way that the Columbus region is promoting economic growth, enhancing residents’ sense of place, and working to support the changing needs of local businesses. This proactive and forward-looking approach has been designed to benefit STEAM companies looking to grow in Columbus. An example of this is found in the Chamber of Commerce Project Management Team which is comprised of top officials from the community and the state. This team works closely with relocating businesses to provide both information and assistance.

In addition to providing direct support, Columbus offers qualifying STEAM companies the opportunity to benefit from tax breaks, property discounts, property tax abatements, reduced utility rates, freeport tax exemption and assistance with the permitting process. Those in the film industry can also apply for funding from Columbus’s $5 million film fund.

Columbus, Georgia is a STEAM Community

STEAM companies like Aflac, Char-Broil, Realtree, Synovus, TSYS and W.C. Bradley Co. have realized the many benefits of locating in Columbus. The City is pro-business, has a skilled workforce, offers one of the lowest corporate tax rates in the country, and low utility rates (2019 State Business Tax Climate Index, 2018). This makes Columbus the ideal location for STEAM companies looking to grow.

We encourage you to learn more about Columbus, Georgia by emailing Brian Sillitto, Executive Vice President of Economic Development, at bsillitto@columbusgachamber.com.


References

16 Students Attend CSU CCSSC Camps with Support from Pratt & Whitney. (2018, June 27). Retrieved from Columbus State University: https://news.columbusstate.edu/16-students-attend-csu-ccssc-camps-with-support-from-pratt-whitney/
 
 
The Headquarters Checklist: How Do Companies Pick a Location? (2017, October 24). Retrieved from Wharton University of Pennsylvania : http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/headquarters-checklist-companies-pick-location/
 
Zozaya, J. (2018, July 9). W.C. Bradley Co. donates equipment to new MCSD STEAM center; board discusses police chief candidates. Retrieved from WVTM: http://www.wtvm.com/story/38603421/wc-bradley-co-donates-equipment-to-new-mcsd-steam-cente-board-discusses-police-chief-candidates
 
2019 State Business Tax Climate Index. (2018, September 26). Retrieved from Tax Foundation: https://taxfoundation.org/publications/state-business-tax-climate-index/