Ford to open R&D centre in Atlanta in bid to attract software talent
- The Ford Atlanta Research and Innovation Centre, or FARIC, joins R&D facilities Ford already operates in Tel Aviv and Palo Alto, California
- Establishing the centre in Atlanta gives the company a foothold in what it described as one of the most diverse tech talent markets in the country
Ford Motor Co is opening a new research and development centre in Atlanta, a move the carmaker said is aimed at building a pipeline of software experts by tapping into the city’s diverse pool of tech talent.
The Ford Atlanta Research and Innovation Centre, or FARIC, joins R&D facilities Ford already operates in Tel Aviv and Palo Alto, California. FARIC’s work will focus on developing software solutions in areas including digitally connected vehicles and artificial intelligence.
“Ford is transitioning from a traditional automotive company to a digital products and services company driven by software innovation,” Jim Buczkowski, executive director of advanced engineering for Ford Research, said in a statement.
“There’s a high demand for tech talent across industries, and we have an opportunity to create non-traditional career pathways to attract and develop the expertise needed to stay competitive.”
Establishing the centre in Atlanta, the carmaker said in a news release, gives the company a foothold in what it described as one of the most diverse tech talent markets in the country.
“Underrepresentation is a significant issue in software and engineering industries, especially when it comes to Black and Hispanic communities, which makes it particularly exciting to work with local colleges, universities and nonprofits to help bring greater diversity into the tech space,” Doron Elliott, who is senior manager of Ford In-Vehicle Infotainment and will also oversee FARIC operations, said in a statement.
“Building this critical talent base will enable Ford to continue to find innovative and efficient ways to develop cutting-edge products and services to meet the demands of a very diverse customer base.”
Part of the centre’s mission will include increasing Black, Hispanic and female representation in software engineering and other “high technology” careers. Ford said some of the strategies for achieving that including leveraging relationships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the region and the Atlanta University Center Consortium, and creating flexible, non-traditional career pathways for people interested in software and hi-tech jobs.
In response to a question about the decision to locate the centre in Atlanta instead of southeast Michigan, where Ford is headquartered, company spokesperson Wes Sherwood noted that the carmaker’s “largest global innovation hub is based is Dearborn, employing thousands of people. This is the centre of Ford’s rich history of American investment, which is growing with the new Atlanta facility joining a global innovation network.”
The centre will be in a 24,000-square-foot space in a development on Atlanta’s Upper West Side.