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Creating Jobs, One Data Center At A Time

A Google data center in Douglas County, Georgia

Technology is changing the way people work, and data centers are benefiting. More companies are adopting new technology to drive innovation and increase revenue. Companies are beginning to leverage automation and artificial intelligence to complete tasks faster and more efficiently. 

Developments in AI, robotics and biotechnology are disrupting the business world in the same way the Industrial Revolution impacted the industry at large, according to the World Economic Forum. As more people rely on technology and connectivity, there is an increased demand for data centers worldwide. The global data center construction market is forecast to reach over $22B by 2019 at a compound annual growth rate of 9.3%. 

This growing need for data connectivity is bringing jobs to greater Atlanta. In Douglas CountySwitch, a Tier 5 Platinum hyperscale co-location data center ecosystem company, plans to build a 1M SF data center. The company will invest $2.5B into the site and add 105 jobs. 

“Georgia’s robust technology infrastructure and skilled workforce will benefit Switch in building this new data center and in the company’s future growth,” Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal said. “By selecting Douglas County, Switch will enjoy our business-friendly climate and further secure Georgia’s status as the Silicon Valley of the South.”

Douglas County has long been a hub for technology and data center industries. Companies like AT&T and Digital Realty Trust have flocked to the region and increased employment rates throughout the county. The labor force in the region made up one-fifth of Georgia's workforce in 2016. This high rate of growth is expected to maintain speed for the next few years.

Switch data center

Google has also helped drive job growth in the county. A major spike in digital activity has increased demand for data centers worldwide. The tech giant has reported over 100 billion searches every month and a total of 60 trillion existing web addresses to date. The company has expanded its data center operations into Douglas County to meet this demand. 

The new data center is one of 13 Google data centers across the globe. Google has invested over $300M into the project in Douglas County to meet demand in the Southeast. The expansion into Douglas County will create at least 25 new full-time jobs in addition to the more than 350 employees at the existing facility. 

“When we search for a data center site we have very specific criteria, such as the caliber of the workforce, the right business climate and the infrastructure to support the power and technical needs of our operations,” Google Operations Manager Jason Wellman said. “Douglas County fit the bill and has surpassed our expectations.”

There is a strategy behind why global technology companies like Google and Switch are moving to Douglas. The county sits 12 miles west of Atlanta and it is home to 132,403 residents, a population size that nearly doubled from 1990 to 2010. 

“The data center industry is a target sector for the Douglas County Economic Development Authority, as we have proven to have superior infrastructure and talent base to support them,” Douglas County Board of Commissioners Chair Romona Jackson-Jones said. 

Douglas County also provides assistance to new and existing businesses in the area. The county’s economic development authority offers solutions to help identify training opportunities and tools to meet workforce demand. 

Douglas has enough land to host these data centers while still being within reasonable proximity to a major metro area like Atlanta. The city’s large corporate presence has contributed to increased demand for connectivity in the region.

"Data centers do not create the same number of jobs as a large advanced manufacturing facility or headquarters, but they do make sizable capital investments," Douglas County Economic Development Authority Executive Director Chris Pumphrey said. "These investments generate direct economic impact through property taxes, construction jobs and power consumption taxes and fees, but they also create indirect economic impact by supporting additional jobs in the community."

As Atlanta’s data market continues to heat up, job growth in Douglas County is not slowing down any time soon. 

Pumphrey will be speaking at the Data Center Investment Conference & Expo Southeast in Atlanta. Find out more here

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