Georgia: Pro-Business Environment, Development-Ready Property, Record-Breaking Investment | Trade and Industry Development

Georgia: Pro-Business Environment, Development-Ready Property, Record-Breaking Investment

Mar 19, 2024 | By: The State of Georgia

Georgia’s business-friendly environment, bolstered by its unique partnership approach, global presence and long-term investments, are foundational to its success.

For a third year in a row, Georgia Governor Brian P. Kemp announced that the state broke economic development records. From July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2023, total investments in facility expansions and new locations totaled more than $24 billion and resulted in 38,400 new jobs, 82 percent of which were created outside metro Atlanta. Statewide annual investment totals have also increased by 131 percent over the last three years, driven in part by international investments from markets such as South Korea, Japan and Europe.

What’s behind these impressive numbers? Corporations and their headquarters are consistently choosing Georgia for relocations and expansions because of the state’s supply of development-ready sites, skilled and diverse workforce and logistics infrastructure connecting the state with a global market. Additionally, corporations locating in Georgia have access to workforce development programs and benefit from a low corporate tax rate and business incentives.


The Port of Savannah's chilled and frozen warehouse expansion will allow Georgia to continue its mission to provide world-class infrastructure. Photo provided by Georgia Ports Authority
The Port of Savannah's chilled and frozen warehouse expansion will allow Georgia to continue its mission to provide world-class infrastructure.   Photo provided by Georgia Ports Authority

A high quality of life, lower cost of living and a pipeline of diverse, well-educated talent means companies not only have everything they need to locate their manufacturing facilities in Georgia, but to locate their headquarters and people in Georgia, too. In addition, the state’s corporate tax rate sits at 5.75 percent, and new and expanding companies can also earn Job Tax Credits for creating new jobs in Georgia.
For these reasons and more, Georgia continues to attract companies from diverse industries that bring opportunity to communities all across the state. Companies such as Morgan Stanley, which in 2023 continued to grow its workforce across several locations in the metro Atlanta area, commit to growing their presence in Georgia because of the state’s diverse workforce and partnership approach to business. The numbers back it up – in fiscal year 2023, expansions accounted for 71 percent of total projects, and new locations for 65 percent of new jobs announced across the state.

Businesses like Aurubis and Porsche have made Georgia their North American headquarters, and 19 FORTUNE 500s including Aflac, Global Payments and UPS enjoy Georgia’s competitive business environment and strategic location for their headquarters as well.

Georgia is also becoming an epicenter for sports: as the current home to popular professional soccer club Atlanta United and future host of multiple matches to be played at the 2026 FIFA World Cup, Georgia’s connectivity makes it easy for teams and fans from around the world to travel here and experience the diverse communities and landscapes that make Georgia a top U.S. travel destination. Recognizing the state’s assets and quality of life, the U.S. Soccer Federation announced it would move its headquarters and construct a first-of-its kind national training center in Georgia.

Speed-to-Market Solutions
Georgia streamlines the process of economic development each step of the way, developing speed-to-market solutions such as the Georgia Department of Economic Development's “Georgia Ready for Accelerated Development” (GRAD) Certification Program. This program offers businesses and site selectors a portfolio of pre-qualified industrial sites for which due diligence has been completed prior to a prospect visit.
Through an intensive certification process, GRAD Certified sites have been critical in winning key projects, including about half of the Hyundai Motor Group Metaplant America (HMGMA) suppliers and numerous battery supply chain projects. Since HMGMA broke ground in October 2022, project suppliers have announced investments totaling more than $2.5 billion. This includes a multibillion-dollar investment in Middle Georgia by automotive parts company Hwashin, announced in October 2023, on a GRAD-Certified site.

The GRAD program helped spur a 112 percent increase in statewide advanced manufacturing investments in fiscal year 2023 compared to fiscal year 2021, showing that when a company can quickly go from purchasing a site to opening the doors of their facility, it’s a win-win. Two new sites joined the state’s roster of more than 60 GRAD Certified properties in 2023, and the state continues to up its supply of development-ready properties with more undergoing the certification process.

Workforce Training Initiatives

A planned 104-acre inland port, the Blue Ridge Connector, will provide a direct link to the Port of Savannah via Norfolk Southern to northeast Georgia and have a top capacity of 150,000 container lifts per year. Photo provided by Georgia Ports Authority
A planned 104-acre inland port, the Blue Ridge Connector, will provide a direct link to the Port of Savannah via Norfolk Southern to northeast Georgia and have a top capacity of 150,000 container lifts per year.   
Photo provided by Georgia Ports Authority

In Georgia’s workforce of 5.3 million people, companies find a diverse talent pool strengthened by investments in technical college training, apprenticeship programs, and K-12 education.

Georgia Quick Start, the nation’s number one workforce training program, has trained over one million employees to meet the needs of companies looking to expand or locate in the state. Companies like Qcells, Hyundai Motor Group and SK Battery America are benefiting from Georgia Quick Start’s ability to customize training and replicate actual processes that will be used, creating a workforce ready to start production on Day One. Part of the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG), Georgia Quick Start currently operates five training centers, is expanding its advanced manufacturing center and is designing new facilities for clean energy manufacturers and suppliers. In February, TCSG, Quick Start and HMGMA broke ground on Hyundai Mobility Training Center of Georgia on the same site as the Metaplant and inspired by the facility built for Kia Georgia, which opened in 2008 and is still in use today.
Contributing to a strong talent pipeline, Georgia’s top-ranked colleges and universities include two of the nation’s top 20 public universities, the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Georgia, and two of the nation’s top five HBCUs, Spelman College and Morehouse College. Georgia also offers specialized programs for some of the state’s top industries. From the Cyber and FinTech Academies to the Georgia Film Academy, which prepares students to participate in the state’s $4.1 billion film industry, first-of-their-kind innovative training academies are equipping Georgians for jobs. In addition, institutions like Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), with campuses in Savannah and Atlanta, are preparing a diverse, creative workforce for jobs of the future.

Georgia’s HOPE Scholarship, the first merit-based scholarship in the U.S., provides tuition assistance to recent high school graduates as well as adults seeking further education later in their careers. More recent state-led higher education initiatives include a million-dollar investment in new apprenticeships to train students for careers in in-demand industries such as healthcare, manufacturing and construction, as well as one of the largest state-run direct admissions initiatives in the nation.
By offering a quality of life that is attractive to young professionals, families and older adults, Georgia consistently recruits new talent, retains its graduates and retrains the large number of military service members who retire in Georgia each year.

Reliable Logistics Network
Thanks to generations of investments in a reliable logistics network, Georgia leads in moving people and goods across the state, region and around the globe. To support burgeoning industries like the cleantech sector, and to attract corporate headquarters and operations to the state, Georgia continues to invest in its seamless system of ocean, rail, truck and air transportation.

Companies doing business in the state have a unique edge thanks to unparalleled assets like Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the busiest and most efficient airport in the world; the Port of Savannah, the single largest and fastest-growing container terminal in America; and the Port of Brunswick, one of the most utilized port terminals in the U.S. for roll-on, roll-off cargo. Georgia’s three inland ports provide regions across the state with direct paths to the Port of Savannah and Brunswick, and the state’s 5,000 miles of rail create the most extensive rail system and largest intermodal hub in the Southeast.

Georgia also benefits from a reliable logistics industry that extends throughout the state along a robust network of top-ranked highways and accessible railways. With ample cold storage space, key sectors like agriculture – the state’s number-one industry – and food processing are able to safely transport products to local markets across the U.S. and abroad.

Innovation Breeds Success
Because of these critical assets and more, Georgia has built an emerging ecosystem to support growth within the mobility and cleantech industries. In fiscal year 2023, suppliers attracted by Georgia’s mobility original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) resulted in over $2 billion in investment across the state. Mobility and cleantech projects alone delivered three investments of over $1 billion and six of the largest projects by job creation. This was a result of fostering innovation in the state with the support of organizations like the Georgia Center of Innovation, a unique-to-Georgia asset that connects public and private partners in strategic ecosystems.
Likewise, aerospace is growing significantly in Georgia. The industry ecosystem overlaps with e-mobility through companies like Archer Aviation Inc. and includes top regional employers like Gulfstream, which has maintained its headquarters in Georgia since 1967 and continues to expand. Georgia is also proud to be home to a large military presence, offering many opportunities for defense contractors and a workforce that includes the fifth-largest population of active and retired service members in the country.

Looking Forward
Georgia’s superior logistics and infrastructure, education opportunities, high quality of life, spirit of innovation and other assets make the state a national leader in attracting investments from companies looking to start or grow their business. The state continues to invest in the resources required to evolve for the future, and industry leaders are taking note.  T&ID


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