The American Transaction Processors Coalition, consisting of 70 companies in Georgia’s Transaction Alley, including 60% calling the Peach State home, saw its advocacy for a university-sponsored fintech curriculum realized in September.
The ATPC, consisting of fintech companies that develop the products and provide resources supporting much of the financial service industry’s technology needs, played a critical role in organizing support for the establishment of a University System of Georgia sponsored financial technology program and the establishment of a FinTech Academy beginning in early 2014.
Chancellor Steve Wrigley and the Board of Regents of the USG announced the formation of the academy, a statewide initiative to create a talent pipeline for Georgia’s fast-growing financial technology business sector.
H. West Richards, executive director of ATPC and adviser to both employers and the state on the merits of such a program, maintained talent development is critical to the continued growth of the financial technology industry in Georgia, and help meet the significant demand for fintech-educated employees, both in the state and nationally. Additionally, the public/private partnership between employers at the state will influence curriculum; and this initiative could put Georgia at the forefront as a global talent magnet.
Richards said having these ATPC organizations, which employ more than 40,000 people in Georgia and an additional 105,000 people around the world, could do their own thing trying to produce courses and training programs, but the alliance supported putting it under one roof. Right now, it’s an $18 million project. In Georgia, fintech generates more than $72 billion in annual revenue.
The initiative is certain to capture the attention of financial and government leaders around the globe Richards held. “This is an American initiative but It has the potential to be a big deal.”
West indicated the fintech academy resulted from years of thoughtful research and analysis among the university system, fintech employers and other key partners. “As it grows and achieves some success there are other industry segments that could go this route such as cybersecurity and logistics.”
For Georgia, sustained growth and development of the fintech segment hinges on meeting a rising need for talent, which the state projects includes 5,000 new hires by 2020, which must include 95% with industry-specific practical knowledge.
“When we released the College 2025 report, we meant what we said about preparing graduates with innovative approaches,” Wrigley said in a statement. “The Georgia FinTech Academy is an innovative response to the call from the fintech industry for more and better workers. With the strength of all 26 institutions of the University System of Georgia behind it, I believe fintech will see immediate results from this new program.”
The Georgia FinTech Academy will prepare enrollees to enter fintech or shift from another job through degree programs, executive and continuing education, and apprenticeships and internships supplying the practical experience required by employers.
The curriculum developed in conjunction with fintech employers to tackled their primary needs, will cover the entire USG with virtual access to online courses and degrees through e-learning and cloud-based talent development programs.
According to the USG, the nexus degree is a college education credential approved by the Board of Regents that combines essential knowledge with applied experience. The new degree expands on the university system’s existing portfolio of associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. It will include 18 hours of coursework – 12 hours in upper-division level courses and six hours in experiential learning such as internships or in-the-field experiences – in addition to 42 hours of general education coursework.
In addition to offering courses virtually across the entire state, the Georgia FinTech Academy will have two physical locations, both located in Atlanta at Georgia State University’s Robinson College of Business. The downtown location will also house the academy’s executive offices and serve as the single point of contact for employers seeking to hire fintech-ready talent. Georgia State’s Buckhead Executive Center will offer graduate programs, executive and continuing education, as well as boot camps.