Home to 12 hospitals, two biotechnology business incubators, several life sciences companies, and the University System of Georgia’s premier medical university with an aligned clinical treatment and teaching facility, the medical industry alone is estimated to infuse Augusta’s economy with close to $10 billion annually. Augusta has the highest concentration of healthcare in the Southeast and is widely recognized as a healthcare destination. Healthcare employment represents greater than 14 percent of the area’s total workforce and is projected to grow 26% by 2020.
A boom to the local economy, the medical field currently employs approximately 19,867 people plus more than 2,300 doctors and medical researchers. Augusta actively encourages the development of emerging research and health-related sciences. In particular, the Interdisciplinary Research Building on the campus of Augusta University, is a conduit for Augusta’s future as a biotechnology corridor. Its laboratories and offices breed life-sciences entrepreneurs and research. The Georgia Medical Center Authority shares this dedication to making Augusta a core of research and development.
At the core of technology-based employers in the CSRA is the Savannah River Site (SRS). This U.S. Department of Energy facility develops and uses technologies to improve the environment and treat nuclear and hazardous waste remaining from the Cold War. With an employment of nearly 12,000 people—more than 1,000 of whom are research scientists with advanced degrees—and an annual budget of $2 billion, SRS is adjacent to the Center for Hydrogen Research, the only facility of its kind in the world, and the Savannah River National Laboratory, which is designated as a federal national laboratory research facility.
The Augusta region leads the country in the renaissance of clean energy through commercial nuclear power and alternative fuel. With construction underway, the Vogtle Electric Generating Plant, also referred to as Plant Vogtle, will operate the first two new reactors built in more than 30 years, ensuring an abundant supply of power for a growing region.
In support of these industries, a skilled workforce knowledgeable in cutting edge nuclear technology is cultivated in the CSRA’s own population. The new Richmond County Technical Career Magnet School, which enrolled its first class of students in the 2012-2013 school year, prepares its graduates for technical and industrial jobs. Likewise, the Augusta Technical College’s nuclear engineering technology program supports the CSRA’s increasing nuclear industry employment opportunities.