Now that Cobb is moving ahead to complete the planning and financing for the move of the Braves to our county, a series of detailed examinations has begun of the expectations and promises of benefits that preceded the affirmative vote on Nov.25.
During the run-up to the vote, proponents for the stadium deal offered a list of economic benefits that would be the outgrowth from this billion dollar public/private partnership. Like so many others, I am glad for our good fortune and the foresight of our leadership team. So let's examine one of those claims of future benefit to get a peek at how viable it is for Cobb in the 2015-2017 timeframe.
The claim was that our stadium would generate $35,000,000 in wages for Cobb construction jobs that would employ 5,227 construction workers.
Presently, 144,000 men and women are employed by 21,000 firms in the construction industry in the state according to Georgia Department of Labor. 18,000 of the 144,000 now work in Cobb. With E-verify requirements, all of those should be legally eligible to work in Georgia. Chairman Tim Lee has stated that, "we will employ Cobbians." So the question is, can we take that pledge to the bank, or who will build it?
Georgia Industry narrative
The construction sector comprises establishments primarily engaged in the construction of buildings or engineering projects (e.g., highways and utility systems). Establishments primarily engaged in the preparation of sites for new construction and establishments primarily engaged in subdividing land for sale as building sites also are included in this sector.
Will we be able to grow our qualified construction workforce by 29 percent by 2015/17 and are the education and training apprenticeships in place to meet the challenge?
Our regional school systems continue to be budget and in some cases motivationally challenged to incorporate and fund the required career education necessary to produce a diverse, skilled and technically capable workforce.
Will Commissioner Lee assign blame on the education and training (E&T) pipeline when the contractor teams hired by the Braves need to bring in workers from outside Cobb and the state?
It is now time for the necessary enabling planning to be accelerated and investments made to support our new stadium construction project. So get ready, our E&T machine is about to kick it up to Keep it in Cobb.
Lawrence P. King is Vice President of DEBLAR & Associates, a Cobb based business consulting practice. He has held senior executive positions with the Edison Polymer Innovation Corporation (EPIC), the General Electric Company, Babcock & Wilcox, the National Inventors Hall of Fame and has over thirty years experience in strategic marketing planning, fundraising, sales, business development and market development in both domestic and international environments. He serves locally with the Cobb Transit Advisory Board, Austell Community Task Force, South Cobb Business Association, Harvest Pointe HOA and publishes a nationally distributed newsletter, STEM NEWS.