SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The world of technology is constantly changing and cities across the country are trying to get in on the action. This May marks one year since the Savannah Economic Development Authority (SEDA) launched their Technology Workforce Incentive program which is designed to attract professionals to Savannah and boost the area’s tech industry.
“The churn of people thinking I’ve got to go to New York or San Francisco or Boston or Chicago or Atlanta. You don’t have to go through that grind anymore,” said Powell Jones, a SEDA program participant.
Jones has worked in the technology and financial service industry for most of his career. After launching his own technology and consulting firm, he moved to Savannah in August with his family and joined the Savannah Economic Development Authority’s Technology Workforce Incentive program.
“What I found and I’ve been incredibly impressed with is not only with SEDA but they’re helping to connect me with people in the business community, with the ports, hospitality, people who are working in the education industry here. So I’m getting a chance to say yes it’s viable to have as good a career as you would want to have anywhere else,” said Jones.
Jones previously lived in Atlanta but he had been to Savannah a number of times with his family. He says he learned about SEDA’s program last summer.
“What I’ve really been impressed with, not just what SEDA’s doing but others in the business community, is the entrepreneurial spirit and the ability to make the progress we’ve made under incredibly difficult circumstances,” he said.
Jones says the incentive program has provided him and other participants with resources and connections. Leaders at SEDA say they’ve seen a great response since they launched it.
“I’ve talked about in the neighborhood of 230 people, 230 since June of last year, that have expressed interest via email, phone, Zoom calls. Lots of Zoom calls with folks from all over the country,” said Jennifer Bonnett, Vice President of Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Executive Director of The Creative Coast, SEDA.
Bonnett says 72 people have moved and 32 more have applied. They’ve used their hub “The Creative Coast” to connect and engage them with others in the technology and creative industries. Powel says he’s seen success here in the Hostess City and is here to stay.
“I think people may say well this is an old town. Yes it’s old, love it and appreciate it, but it’s got a lot of people here who are thinking toward the future,” said Jones.
If you know someone who would be a great fit for this program, all that’s needed is over three years of tech experience. You also must move and live in Chatham County for at least a month before applying. SEDA also says if you refer the program to someone and they join and list you as a referral, you could get $500.