Through two new software innovation centers and STEM outreach programs, the 21st Century Partnership says they are prepping the next generation of the workforce

Author: Sarah Hammond, 13WMAZ

Published: 7:15 PM EST December 12, 2019

Updated: 7:15 PM EST December 12, 2019

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — Innovation and technology — that’s what the 21st Century Partnership says is the future of Robins Air Force Base, and they are working toward that future through a software initiative.

President and CEO Chrissy Miner said their new software development centers and STEM outreach programs are the way to prepare the future workforce and make Central Georgia a software hub.

She said their goal is protect the interests of Robins Air Force Base, which includes the two new software development centers.

“We need to make sure we have a trained and ready workforce for Robins Air Force Base for the future,” said 21st Century Partnership President Chrissy Miner.

The base is partnering with Mercer University and Middle Georgia State University to open those centers.

Prep work began back in October on the center in downtown Macon next to Capricorn Studio on Martin Luther King Boulevard, and they are scheduled to open early next year.

MGA opened their center in Thomas Hall on December 5th.

“They’re going to be working with an actual faculty member. Students can come in, members of the community can come in, and they can work together to solve problems, software issues, that they might be experiencing in their business,” said Miner.

They’ll also be developing software and solving problems for Robins Air Force Base.

That work is an extension of what the center in downtown Macon will do.

Miner said a big part of these software centers is to show people you don’t have to go through the gates of Robins Air Force Base to be a software engineer and to help the Air Force and the Department of Defense.

Jamie Cook said it’s up to the next generation of the workforce to make centers like these successful.

“The jobs of the future will require some degree of technology and engineering, and you can’t do technology and engineering without the skills of science and math.”

That’s why as the STEM Outreach and Work Force Coordinator, he is reaching out to schools across Central Georgia, especially in rural counties, to get them ready.

“They still have the skills. What they lack is the awareness, the opportunity to enhance those skills, to develop those skills, to mature those skills and we’re leaving all that work force on the table without making them aware so they can develop themselves to come into Robins and the rest of the regional workforce.”

He said with over 1,500 people involved in software development, Robins Air Force Base has the second largest software factory in the Air Force

“That’s a workforce that’s got to be fed. All of the industries and businesses that come into Robins Air Force Base and into the Middle Georgia region will be needing those skills in software, computer engineering, computer development, those areas, and we’ve got to develop that work.”