Georgia Department of Economic Development

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Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD)
Georgia USA logo.jpg
Agency overview
Jurisdiction Georgia (United States)
Headquarters 75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 1200, Atlanta, Georgia
Agency executive Chris Carr, Commissioner
Parent agency State of Georgia

The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) is a department of the State of Georgia (United States). The department plans, manages and mobilizes state resources to attract new business investment to Georgia, drive the expansion of existing industry and small business, locate new markets for Georgia products, inspire tourists to visit Georgia and promote the state as a top destination for arts events and film, music and digital entertainment projects.


Originally named the Georgia Department of Commerce,[1] the agency was established by law in 1949. Governor Herman Talmadge appointed the first five-member board[2] under the Official Code of Georgia Annotated sections 50-7-1 through 50-7-41.[3] George C. Gaines served as the first commissioner.[2]


Chris Carr, named Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) by Governor Nathan Deal,[4] joined the agency in November 2013.[5] As Commissioner, he leads the state agency responsible for creating jobs and investment in Georgia through business recruitment and expansion, international trade and tourism, as well as the arts, film and music industries.[5]

Commissioner Carr brings to the agency a wealth of knowledge and intergovernmental relationships developed during his most recent role as Chief of Staff for Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson.[5]

Key Resources[edit]

  • Encouraging the expansion of existing industry and small business
  • Developing new domestic and international markets
  • Recruiting new business to locate in the state
  • Identifying key markets in Georgia for companies specific needs
  • Attracting tourists to Georgia
  • Promoting the state as a location for film, video, music, digital entertainment projects
  • Promoting the state as a top destination for artists and arts events
  • Planning and mobilizing state resources for economic development

Agency Organization[edit]

The Georgia Department of Economic Development is divided into seven distinct divisions: Global Commerce; International Trade; Workforce; the Georgia Centers of Innovation; Tourism; Film, Music & Digital Entertainment and the Georgia Council for the Arts. These seven divisions are supported by an Administration division and a Marketing and Communications division.

Global Commerce Division[edit]

The Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Global Commerce division assists businesses that are interested in growing or locating in the state. By coordinating a variety of services, such as site locating, employee training, market research, providing access to important pro-business resources and connecting businesses with communities and other economic development partners, the Global Commerce division supports new and existing industries within the state. In FY13, assistance from the Global Commerce division led to 389 announced projects and more than $6 billion in investment.[6]

With 97 percent of all Georgia businesses classified as small business, the Global Commerce division also supports this sector through several approaches such as providing direct company relationships, resource awareness, B2B opportunities and local-level business development.

The digital entertainment branch of the Global Commerce division houses emerging media industries such as game development, animation and interactive entertainment. Currently, more than 80 digital media businesses operate in the state, including 60 game businesses. Georgia’s video game workforce is benefited by 15 of the state’s colleges and universities offering video game development courses or curriculums, including some graduate degree programs.[7]

International Trade Division[edit]

The Georgia Department of Economic Development’s International Trade division works closely with Georgia companies who seek to enter or expand into international markets. The International Trade division also seeks to promote the state as a source of quality products and services, matching Georgia suppliers and with international buyers. [8]

GDEcD has international representation in 11 markets including Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Germany, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Israel and the United Kingdom. [9]

In 2014, the International Trade division received a second “E Star” Award, the nation’s highest honor for excellence in providing export programs and services.[10]

Workforce Division[edit]

The Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Workforce division, previously known as the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development, was created in August 2006 to administer the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) funds under the leadership of the State Workforce Investment Board (SWIB) and ultimately to improve the quality of job training and marketability of Georgia’s workforce for the economic growth of the state.

While the Workforce division’s primary responsibility is managing the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) under the leadership of the State Workforce Investment Board (SWIB) – the office is also focused on the broader mission of ensuring that education and training in Georgia is geared toward in-demand jobs.

At a local level, the Workforce Division provides WIA funds and technical assistance to the 19 Local Workforce Investment Areas across the state. WIA funds are allotted to dislocated workers, low-income adults and youth and administered specifically through services geared toward helping disadvantaged citizens obtain meaningful employment. The Workforce division’s involvement includes providing mandatory statewide activities and tools, such as a case management system and programmatic and financial monitoring, which is completed annually for each area.

In addition, through WIA funds and other grants also administered through the Workforce division, the office leads several macro-level programs and initiatives that improve our state workforce development system as a whole. These initiatives include the Go Build Georgia program, the Operation:Workforce program, Rapid Response services and ex-offender initiatives. [11][12][13]

Centers of Innovation Division[edit]

The Georgia Centers of Innovation (COI) provide more than 4,000 customers each year the technical industry expertise, collaborative research and partnerships to help the state’s strategic industries connect, compete and grow globally.[14]

This includes:

  • Access to university level research and development
  • Product commercialization
  • Industry specific business counsel
  • Matching research grants for qualified companies
  • Networking opportunities
  • Connecting clients to potential investor networks

The COI division is composed of six centers that focus on agribusiness, aerospace, energy technology, information technology, logistics and manufacturing industries. Located in Atlanta, Augusta, Gainesville, Savannah, Tifton and Eastman, each center provides statewide strategic industry expertise and offers a complete source of information.[15]

Tourism Division[edit]

The Georgia Department of Economic Development Tourism Division helps individuals and groups discover Georgia's vacation options and provide them with resources that will help them plan their stay. Through its network of regional and international representatives, it also assists the state's communities and attractions in drawing potential travelers to their areas. [16]

The state operates 11 Visitor Information Centers that are located on major travel arteries in Augusta, Columbus, Kingsland, Lavonia, Plains, Ringgold, Savannah, Tallapoosa, Valdosta, West Point and Sylvania. The Visitor Information Centers welcome more than 14 million guests each year and provide travel brochures, travel tips and other trip-planning assistance. [17]

The state’s tourism industry employs more than 411,000 people creating a total economic impact of more than $53.6 billion annually.

Available Resources[edit]

  • Promote Georgia as a premier travel destination
  • Provide tourism industry partners with resources including on research, public relations/media opportunities, group tour sales, advertising, product development and other tourism industry related topics
  • Development of the state's consumer tourism website,
  • Responsible for the state’s official Travel Guide
  • Maintaining international representation in Germany (includes Austria and Switzerland) and the U.K. (includes Ireland), building relationships with outbound tour operators, generating media coverage and producing international travel guides
  • Promotion of tourism assets to the 13 million annual visitors traveling through the state’s 11 Visitor Information Centers


Recently moved to the tourism division, the music office oversees statewide efforts to promote Georgia's music industry. From the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, which has earned 27 Grammy® Awards, to trend-setting beatmakers and chart-topping country artists, the sound of Georgia is one of diversity and global influence.[18] A 2011 study commissioned by Georgia Music Partners found that the music industry in Georgia generated a $3.77 billion economic impact and supported 19,955 jobs.[19]

Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Division[edit]

Formed in 1973, the Georgia Film, Music and Digital Entertainment Office develops and promotes the state's feature film, television, commercial, music video, recorded music and digital media industries.

Statewide resources and infrastructure information along with an extensive location library provide every assistance for production companies both inside and outside Georgia. The office coordinates and supports the filming needs of companies with other state agencies and local governments.[20]

In FY14, productions spent $1.4 billion in Georgia creating a $5.1 billion economic impact.[21][22]

Georgia Entertainment Industry Investment Act[edit]

On May 12, 2008, Governor Sonny Perdue signed into law the Georgia Entertainment Industry Investment Act, increasing the state tax credit for qualified production and post-production expenditures by as much as 30%. It is available to both traditional motion picture projects such as feature films, television series, commercials and music videos, as well as new industries such as game development and animation.[[23]

Film and television[edit]

During FY14, Georgia hosted more than 158 feature films and television series, movies, specials, pilots and episodes produced in Georgia, ranking the state number one in the Southeast and among the top five states in the nation for film and TV productions.

Throughout the years, the Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Division has helped secure Georgia as the location of choice for more than 850 film and television productions.

Georgia’s growing presence in the film industry has created a huge increase in film-induced tourism. The state’s official site dedicated to film, TV and music travel is, where visitors can search for movie tours, travel tips, photo galleries, articles, festivals and more.

Georgia Council for the Arts[edit]

Georgia Council for the Arts (GCA) was established in 1965 as the Georgia Commission on the Arts with a mission to encourage excellence in the arts, support the arts and make the arts available to all Georgians by providing funding, leadership, programming and other services. Funding for the GCA is provided by appropriations from the Georgia General Assembly, the National Endowment for the Arts and other private and public sources.

The creative industries in Georgia represent more than 12,000 businesses that employ almost 200,000 people and generate almost $29 billion in annual revenue. [24]

Other public partnerships[edit]

The Georgia Department of Economic Development maintains other partnerships underneath its umbrella of entities. These specific partnerships strengthen our business ties among the public and private sectors and enhance the department’s overall ability to promote the state’s thriving business climate in the global marketplace.

The Georgia Cancer Coalition[edit]

The Georgia Cancer Coalition is an American independent, non-profit organization dedicated to reducing the number of cancer deaths in the U.S. state of Georgia.

Georgia Allies[edit]

Formed in 1997 as a partnership between state government and private corporations, Georgia Allies builds on the individual initiatives of its members to create larger, more targeted programs that aggressively promote the state’s business development efforts. This unique public-private partnership allows the state to pool resources to increase economic development success in both new business recruitment and existing industry retention.[25]

The Georgia Research Alliance[edit]

The Georgia Research Alliance (GRA), a nonprofit corporation founded in 1990, is a public/private partnership of the state’s research universities, leading corporations and state government. The GRA is enlarging the scope of its economic development role, utilizing the state’s university resources for the business community in order to grow jobs and investment in the state.

GRA will work in coordination with GDEcD to integrate the Georgia Centers of Innovation (COI) program with its existing programs. The Georgia Cancer Coalition will also become a part of the Georgia Research Alliance, in order to strengthen connections with university cancer programs and ultimately make Georgia one of the nation’s top states for cancer care. [26]


  1. ^ "Georgia Code Research Tool". State of Georgia. <>.
  2. ^ a b "Georgia Department of Economic Development". State of Georgia. <,2086,26110704_0_26114573,00.html>.
  3. ^ "Georgia Department of Economic Development". State of Georgia. <,2197,668180,00.html>.
  4. ^ "Deal nominates new head for Economic Development". Georgia Department of Economic Development. <>.
  5. ^ a b c "Commissioner Chris Carr". Georgia Department of Economic Development. <>.
  6. ^ "Georgia Department of Economic Development Year in Review". 
  7. ^ Digital Entertainment  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ "International Trade". Georgia Department of Economic Development. <>.
  9. ^ "International Trade Representatives". Georgia Department of Economic Development. <>.
  10. ^ "GDEcD’s International Trade Division Receives Second “E Star” Award". 
  11. ^ "Go Build Georgia". 
  12. ^ "Operation:Workforce". 
  13. ^ "Rapid Response". 
  14. ^ "Georgia Centers of Innovation". 
  15. ^ "Georgia Centers of Innovation". Georgia Department of Economic Development. <>.
  16. ^ "Explore Georgia". 
  17. ^ "Georgia Visitor Information Centers". 
  18. ^ "Music Industry". 
  19. ^ "Georgia Music Business Economic Impact Study" (PDF). 
  20. ^ "Entertainment". Georgia Department of Economic Development. <>.
  21. ^ Georgia Department of Economic Development, 2012 Annual Report. Atlanta: 2012. <>.
  23. ^ "Production Incentives". Georgia Department of Economic Development. <>.
  24. ^ "Arts Industry in Georgia". 
  25. ^ "Georgia Allies". Georgia Department of Economic Development. <>.
  26. ^ "Georgia Research Alliance". 

External links[edit]