City of Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens joined Atlanta Technical College leadership and local elected officials on Tuesday to announce donations amounting to over $1.8 million and a partnership between the college and Acuity Brands, an international lighting and building management company headquartered in Atlanta.

Using funding from the City of Atlanta, Acuity Brands will create a pilot program to train participating Atlanta Tech students in three high-demand occupations: electrician, CDL driver and lab technician. According to a flyer from the mayor’s Office of Communications, each student will receive basic training in each of the three occupations, as well as networking and career exploration opportunities from companies within related industries. 

Acuity Brands will donate $150,000 to fund the program, while the City of Atlanta will invest an additional $50,000 into the program. Acuity Brands and the City of Atlanta will work together to “develop the [program’s] curriculum and build the training program framework.” 

The program’s first cohort will last five weeks and include 20 students who will be paid to participate. 

Neil Ashe, president and CEO of Acuity Brands, said the mayor’s efforts to improve Atlanta’s workforce development endeavors inspired the company to contribute to Atlanta Tech’s curriculum. Ashe also said Acuity Brands’ efforts to reduce carbon emissions and utilize sustainable methods of generating energy will require training and recruiting more electricians, technicians, and truck drivers to transform the company’s goals into a reality.

“What we need to do is introduce talented people to these opportunities,” Ashe said. “So we’re proud to partner with Atlanta Technical College and the city to do that.”

Dickens also announced an additional $1.8 million to be donated to Atlanta Technical College in order to fund the college’s Center for Workforce Innovation. Dickens said this donation should allow Atlanta Tech to expand the Center for Workforce Innovation’s outreach and diversify the skillsets of participating students. 

Atlanta Technical College is located at 1560 Metropolitan Parkway, SW. Photo by Janelle Ward/The Atlanta Voice

Dickens has vocally supported increasing workforce development in Atlanta, making job growth a central issue of focus throughout the course of his mayoral campaign. Before taking office, Dickens created jobs and improved public access to educational resources while working on Atlanta’s city council and serving in the private sector. While in office, the mayor plans to develop a labor department for the city, which would consolidate all of Atlanta’s labor concerns and endeavors.

Dickens, Seales and Ashe refrained from announcing a potential time frame by which the pilot program would be completed.

Atlanta Technical College president Victoria Seales said this program, along with the additional support from the City of Atlanta, will greatly benefit the college, its students and the community at large.

“As a college, we have a more than $200 million regional economic impact. Every investment in our college is a great return on your investment.” Seales said. “[Atlanta Technical College] is well worth the investment.”