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2U Enterprise Case Study: GE Digital

Written by Rich Reynolds on Aug 26, 2020

Related content: Strategic Partnerships, Outcomes

As the half-life of digital skills rapidly falls and technical teams evolve into new roles, there is an increasing need to expand employees’ expertise on the latest technology, improving workforce engagement and providing new career opportunities.

Leaders at GE Digital understand this well and approached their neighbors at Georgia Tech, a 2U university partner, about creating high-impact learning experiences developed around desired outcomes. “It’s all about the people for us,” said Habib Sarkis, SVP and CTO, CoreTech Infrastructure. “We shifted to not only focusing on hiring the right people but taking care of our staff and taking them to the next level.”

Six months of intense collaboration and planning between GE Digital and Georgia Tech included assessing the company’s existing workforce, from entry-level engineers to senior-level architects and principal engineers. The corporate training program needed to bring renewed skills to GE Digital’s teams and enable them to transfer their expertise to new domains.

“We asked GE what they were trying to do, why were they trying to do it, and how we could help them get there,” said Dr. Nelson Baker, Dean of Professional Education, Georgia Institute of Technology. “You can’t just walk in and tell someone ‘here it is.’ You have to listen intently and craft something unique and special.”

A critical request from GE Digital was to make the program available in a format conducive to a full-time workforce that had regular jobs to do. The boot camps are offered to employees in the evening, three days a week for six months with an option to attend at Georgia Tech or the corporate campus, both in Atlanta. GE covered tuition for the initial programs through an incentive grant from the Georgia Department of Economic Development. “One of our roles as a state institution is to try to bring workforce opportunities to the citizens of our state,” said Dr. Baker. “We certainly can do that through our undergraduate and graduate degree programs, but we’re always looking for ways to do more.”

Georgia Tech has worked with GE and many other companies in Atlanta for the past two decades. This program expanded on the popular Georgia Tech Coding Boot Camps run in partnership with 2U that have welcomed 7,500 students across more than 300 classes since 2016.

Another advantage to reskilling existing employees is that they are already acclimated to the company culture.

This is a great way to give your employees a non-traditional approach to develop their skills and take their careers to the next level.
— Habib Sarkis, SVP and CTO, CoreTech Infrastructure, GE Digital

Topics include software development, web technologies, cloud scalability, deployment tools, testing, security, and software maintainability. Soft skills training focused on various competencies such as adjusting and adapting to new situations.

“It’s given me the motivation to go look for different challenges and to embrace those challenges and new technologies,” said John Hopkins, senior technical project manager and program graduate. “I can walk away with what I learned and apply it to my life.”

The boot camp’s project-based curriculum showcases what students work on throughout the program. GE Digital has implemented many student projects, including a search engine that compiles documents from all internal sources, a project resource allocation application, and a wellness app.

“We are committed to making this program not only the best for Georgia Tech or GE Digital, but for the collective group of people,” said Dr. Baker, “because when the people improve, the work product improves, our communities improve, and our economy improves.”

For more information on how we can help your workforce, contact our 2U Enterprise team.

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