Georgia Department of Technical and Adult Education
Innovative partnerships benefit
Georgia's students, businesses and communities
Also in this issue: Interview with the commissioner Unique programs around the state EAGLE winners
FROM THE COMMISSIONER
Over the past few months since becoming commissioner, I have had the opportunity to visit our campuses around the state and witness the countless success stories coming out of our system. I've talked to graduates who have built satisfying careers thanks to the training we provide. I've heard about the lives transformed due to the work of our adult literacy programs. And I've met with the businesses that are creating and keeping jobs in Georgia with help from our economic development programs. We all know about the quality and effectiveness of our agency, but what I am committed to doing is making sure that every person in Georgia gets a chance to learn about the good work being done by you on a daily basis. And Results magazine is an important outlet for helping us tell our story. In this issue, we have featured some of the many programs and stories that demonstrate just how innovative our technical colleges can be when addressing the needs of their students and businesses in Georgia. For example, many of our colleges have formed partnerships with businesses in their communities to train people in specialized skill sets. These partnerships are not only evidence of the responsiveness of our colleges to the needs of the marketplace, but they also demonstrate the colleges' commitment to the prosperity of their communities. By cultivating these collaborative relationships, jobs are created, our citizens build careers and businesses succeed. That's why we've titled that feature story "Win-Win." That same responsiveness is evident in the feature story "A Panorama of Programs," which describes a few of the offerings that have been developed to respond to the workforce training needs of certain regions in Georgia. Just as there is little demand for agribusiness majors in downtown Atlanta, there's also not much call for clinical research technicians in the farmlands of south Georgia. That's why some unique programs have been implemented to address regional needs. For example, you'll read about the one-of-a-kind agribusiness programs being taught at Ogeechee Technical College, as well as the Utility Locating Technician program being taught at DeKalb Technical College, a certificate program that was a direct response to the request from utility companies for trained technicians who can locate and track the dense labyrinth of gas, power and water lines in rapidly developing metro Atlanta counties. And, of course, there's a question-and-answer interview with me where I have the chance to share with you my vision for our agency. I hope it conveys to you the pride I feel in being able to work for you and with you as we build a better future for Georgia.
Michael F. Vollmer Commissioner
State Board of Technical and Adult Education
Harold Reynolds Chairman
Warren "Rhubarb" Jones Vice-Chairman
Brenda Wise Director, State Board
James (Jimmy) L. Allgood Jr.
George L. (Roy) Bowen III
Don L. Chapman
Ben I. Copeland Sr.
Michael C. Daniel
Sharon H. Douglas Mary Paige Flanders
Cedric J. Johnson Debra M. Stillo Lyons
Dr. Alma G. Noble Tyre Louis Rakestraw Jr.
Dr. Sandra B. Reed Allen C. Rice
Steven (Steve) Charles Rieck Jimmy Tallent
Ben J. Tarbutton Jr.
Michael F. Vollmer Commissioner
Ron Jackson Deputy Commissioner
Chuck Beall Assistant Commissioner, Technical Education
Jean DeVard-Kemp Assistant Commissioner, Adult Literacy Programs
Debbie Dlugolenski Assistant Commissioner, Information Technology,
Planning and Development
Laura Gammage Assistant Commissioner, External Affairs
Jackie Rohosky Assistant Commissioner, Economic Development Programs
Spring 2005, Volume 8, No. 1 ISSN 1098-0555
Results is published by the Office of Economic Development Programs at the Department of Technical and Adult Education. Articles may be reprinted with permission.
Director of Communications Rodger Brown
Contributing Writers Lauren Keating, Laura Kenney
Art Direction and Design Heathere Fraser
Graphic Design Missy Donaldson
Photography Billy Earle, Scott Martin
Send requests for additional information or comments to the Editor, Results, 75 Fifth Street NW, Suite 400,
Georgia Department of Technical and Adult Education, Atlanta, GA 30308 (404) 253-2815
View Results online at http://www.dtae.org DTAE is an equal opportunity employer.
CTable of ONTENTS Spring 2005
4 TECHnotes News from around the state
8 Taking Wing Ceremony honors 2005 EAGLE winners
9 Leadership Conference 2004 Annual conference brings technical college team together
10 Ten Questions for DTAE's
Commissioner Michael Vollmer
An interview with the commissioner
14 `Win-Win' Unique partnerships benefit both technical college students and local businesses
22 In Praise of Passion Annual celebration of adult literacy hails successes and offers development for the future
26 Raising the Bar The Certified Manufacturing Specialist program is becoming more popular across the state
28 A Panorama of Programs Meeting Georgia's diverse workforce training needs
37 President's Perspective "Meeting the Changing Needs of the Market" By Steve Dougherty, North Metro Technical College president
8 14 26
Passport to a Broader Education
Tech students encounter pasta, Pompeii and a prince
Groups of students from two of Georgia's technical colleges recently added international experience to their rsums. A baker's dozen from Chattahoochee Technical College's Culinary Arts program (12 students plus one instructor) toured Italy for a crash course in that country's classic cuisine, while Atlanta Technical College sent 10 of its own to visit its sister technical college in Germany.
During the trip to Italy, Chattahoochee Tech Culinary Arts Instructor Michael Bologna led his students into the kitchens of Mami Camilla in Sorrento and Scuola di Cucina in Sienna, where students attended classes while webcasting their lessons back to classmates in the United States.
"We wanted the best cooking school in Italy," says Bologna, who coordinated and supervised the trip. "And that's what we got."
The language difference was not a barrier, says Chattahoochee Tech Culinary Arts student Rhonda Porta. "When somebody's cooking, you can learn without them having to say anything," she says. "Italians are so passionate; they put their heart and soul into cooking."
One of a Kind
Since 1997, Atlanta Technical College has been the only one of Georgia's technical colleges to maintain a `sister' college relationship with a technical college in Germany.
Recently, 10 Atlanta Tech students had the chance to explore their areas of interest during a 15-day trek to Felix Fechenbach Berufskolleg.
Funded by Atlanta Tech's Foundation and the Atlanta Tech Student Government Association, the program paired Atlanta Tech students with German technical college students in similar programs. The students lived with German families while attending classes in Computer Information Systems, Carpentry, Culinary Arts, Cosmetology, Early Childhood Care and Education, and pursuing internships at German businesses.
"The opportunity to live in Germany, sharing social customs, and to study and work as interns in German companies served as an exhilarating lifetime experience for students from both institutions," says Atlanta Tech Curriculum Program Specialist Dr. Gladys Camp, who coordinated the trip.
"I was interested in technology and know that Germany is technology-oriented," says Atlanta Tech Student Government President and Computer Information
Above: Derashay Worthen (right) greets the Prince and Princess of Lippe. Left: Deborah Johnson (left), Atlanta Tech institutional development specialist, sightseeing with her German host, Annette Radon.
Systems major Derashay Worthen. During her internship at a telecommunications company, Worthen helped German students set up computer databases and Web sites.
Worthen also had the honor of presenting the Prince and Princess of Lippe with a book about Atlanta during a private reception held in honor of the American students at the Castle Detmold.
"It was an unforgettable experience," Worthen says.
Right: Chattahoochee Tech Culinary Arts students in Italy.
4 Department of Technical and Adult Education
Designed for Success
Gwinnett Technical College student makes it look easy
At right: Gwinnett Tech student Chris Socci relaxes in the newly
Sometimes, everything just falls into place. It happened for Gwinnett Technical College Interior Design student Chris Socci, but only after he made the right first choice by forgoing a scholarship at a private art school and picking Gwinnett Tech's program instead.
"I had been to a tech college before," says Socci, who earned a Graphic Design diploma from Columbus Technical College in 2000 and decided to return to school to pursue his first love, interior design. "And the program at Gwinnett Tech is a great fit. Everything I am learning is relevant."
Socci's schooling paid off when he was awarded a coveted internship with the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). "They contacted Gwinnett Tech about an internship and I interviewed for it," he says. After the internship, ASID hired Socci full-time.
Next came MTV2, which was developing a reality interior design show called
"Brand Spankin' New." Socci's boss at ASID recommended him for the show, and everything clicked.
"I was hired over the phone," says Socci, who then spent two months remodeling the living room of two designchallenged college students in Atlanta.
"It was crazy," says Socci, of spending days meeting with the students to understand their needs, purchasing furniture, even working with an electrician and painters. Socci also coordinated the work of furniture makers, who designed custom pieces for the pair.
"It was very stressful, but it went well,"
he says. Although he was given a month to pull the design together, Socci had only two days to put everything into place.
Luckily, says Socci, using a phrase that could easily describe his recent fast-paced career moves, "It just all came together."
Two Central Georgia Technical College instructors take book matters into their own hands
Central Georgia Tech authors Rhonda Beck and Nick Arlov.
It's a common complaint of teachers: rather than piece together lesson plans from disparate texts and articles, why can't there be one perfect textbook? After hearing her husband, Nick, an instructor of English at Central Georgia Technical College, complain one time too many about inadequate texts, Pamela Arlov proposed a simple solution.
"She said to me, `Why don't we write the book ourselves?'" Nick Arlov recalls. "So that's what we did." A year and a half later, the Arlovs' book -- she's also an English teacher at another local college -- was published by Prentice Hall. Today, Wordsmith: Essentials of College English, is working just as the Arlovs hoped. "We wrote it for English 101 students," says Nick, a former businessman who has been teaching at Central Georgia Tech since 1991. "They expect a no-nonsense type of English instruction and
that's what we've given them. Several of my students have said they enjoyed the book because it's understandable."
Coincidentally, the same frustration that motivated the Arlovs also inspired Central Georgia Tech instructor Rhonda Beck after she was asked by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons to write a new textbook. Beck, a 15-year medical care veteran, used the opportunity to create the kind of comprehensive textbook she always wished for as a full-time instructor.
She obviously wasn't the only one who felt the need for a new textbook. When instructors with the U.S. Army read early chapters of the book, they encouraged Beck to move up the deadline so they could use it for training to meet the intensifying challenges overseas. When it was published last fall, Beck's book became the first new EMT text adopted by the military in many years.
"In the past, instructors had to use three separate books," Beck says. "Now, they have one textbook that meets all their needs."
RESULTS SPRING 2005 5
Patient simulator brings new realism to college's programs
It's the age-old problem of teaching health care techniques: You don't want novices pumping real patients full of drugs, but then there's no way of knowing if the student just killed a plastic mannequin.
Southwest Georgia Technical College solved that problem with a computerized patient simulator that realistically mimics the behavior and responses of a real human.
"He's a really exciting piece of equipment," says Southwest Georgia Tech VP of Economic Development Kathy Harvill about the device, which has been nicknamed "MILTON -- The Million-Dollar Man."
"He differs significantly from traditional dummies used in health care classes," Harvill explains. "For one thing, he's not dumb.
Southwest Georgia Tech healthcare students Wendy Pearce (left) and Kathryn Singletary (right) work on "MILTON" under the guidance of Dr. Annie McElroy, Southwest Georgia Tech director of instruction (center).
The simulator reacts to students' procedures. If students give it the right dosage, it gets better. If they miscalculate, it succumbs."
"It can do anything a patient can do," says Southwest Georgia Tech Director of Instruction Dr. Annie McElroy. It was McElroy who first put things in motion when she approached nursing instructors for a list of dream instructional items. At the top of the list was a patient simulator that mimics a live patient's actions.
Donations to buy the simulator soon started pouring in to the school's Foundation.
"We had great
says Harvill, who
spearheaded the fundraising effort. "Our annual
Dr. Freida Hill, Southwest Georgia Tech president.
Foundation campaign was phenomenal."
Dr. Freida Hill, president of Southwest
Georgia Tech, says the new equipment will
have a far-reaching effect in Southwest
Georgia. "It is a well-known fact that more
health care workers are needed," Hill says.
"We must be able to provide the latest
technology that will prepare students to
become the highly competent health care
professionals we so desperately need."
Albany Tech Makes Cookbook from Scratch
Albany Technical College is stirring up both memories and profits with Food for Thought, a cookbook compiled by the Culinary Arts Department.
The cookbook is a selection of favorite dishes chosen by Program Director Anne Clark and her culinary students. Recipes range from Southern staples like macaroni and cheese to international treats such as almond-stuffed dates.
Food for Thought, which is also peppered with historical information about Albany Tech, was planned partly to coincide
with Clark's retirement last year, but also to tie in with the college's fundraising campaign.
"Teaching has been a passion throughout my life, and I have fond memories of so many events, students and special occasions where we enjoyed these dishes," Clark says.
For $12, the cookbook is available at the school bookstore and several local retail shops. The school's Printing/Graphics program, Print Shop and Office of Public Relations all collaborated with the Culinary Arts Department on the project.
"I can personally attest to how good
our Culinary Arts students and faculty are," says Albany Tech President Dr. Anthony Parker.
"The first year I was here, I gained a lot of weight eating Mrs. Clark's delicious cheesecakes. I try to consume less now, but it's difficult." To order the cookbook, call 1-229-430-1624.
6 Department of Technical and Adult Education
Photo courtesy of Jerry Stovall.
Lady JETS player Chaunda Beauford prepares for her free throw.
The JETS Set
South Georgia Technical College launches women's basketball
Since 2001, South Georgia Technical College has encouraged students' hoop dreams by fielding the JETS, the only men's basketball team in Georgia's Technical College System. In November 2004, the college made it a matched set when it
Mini-dragster Demonstrates Maximum Skills
Altamaha Technical College students rev it up
Take the skills of students in Welding and Joining, Industrial Systems Technology, and Electrical Construction and Maintenance, combine them with a classroom full of materials donated by supportive local businesses, and what do you get?
At Altamaha Technical College, the innovative students
added a women's basketball team, also the only one of its kind statewide.
"We're the only ones in the state that offer students the opportunity to get a technical education and play basketball," Lady JETS Head Coach Brandan Harrell says proudly. The 13-member team will play 30 games and one tournament in its inaugural season.
"You have to take a chance with a firstyear team," says Harrell, who actively recruits from local high schools. "It's hard to be a student athlete."
The intensity for the student athletes increased at the beginning of 2005 when the team began its conference schedule. "Those are the important games," Harrell explains. "Everything up until then was a learning experience."
Harrell is optimistic about the future of the team. "We have the community support and the support from the school," he notes. "We will be successful."
came up with a mini-dragster, an eye-catching contraption that's perfect for putting on display in parades and at public events to demonstrate the scope of training opportunities available at the school.
"It was a team approach," says Altamaha Tech Hazlehurst Campus Director of Operations Hank Hobbs about the project that brought together students from each of the three technical programs. Built almost entirely from raw materials donated by local supporters of the college, the mini-dragster required the Welding and Joining students to
demonstrate expertise in disciplines such as tig and mig welding, grinding, and polishing, while the Industrial Systems Technology students
Attending the celebration were, from left: Peachtree City Rotary Club Governor William A. MacDonald; Rotary International Director J. David
Roper; Tifton Rotary Club Governor Leon W. Benefield; Rotary International President Jonathan
Majiyagbe; Habersham Rotary Club Governor Lona P. Pope; and DTAE Assistant Commissioner of
Adult Literacy Programs Dr. Jean DeVard-Kemp.
Rotary Club International Honors Office of Adult Literacy
Rotary Club International recently presented the Georgia Department of Technical and Adult Education's Office of Adult Literacy with a $30,000 Ade Project award for GED scholarships. The award was presented by Rotary International President Jonathan Majiyagbe at the Rotary Presidential Celebration on Literacy and Education held in Macon. Named in honor of Majiyagbe's late wife, the Ade Project has the goal of promoting and supporting literacy programs around the world.
handled the hydraulics and mechanics in the drive system, and the Electrical students applied the finishing touches, supplying the machine with enough AC power to add accent lights for nighttime display.
"This project allowed the students to work together and experience what it takes to bring a project from design to implementation. It brought `real life' experience to their program curriculum," says Hobbs.
Best of all, he adds, "The project was completely funded by businesses and industries in the area, which demonstrates the community support of this college."
Ceremony honors 2005 EAGLE winners
DTAE Assistant Commissioner for Adult Literacy Programs Dr. Jean DeVard-Kemp (center) is flanked by GED Graduate Literacy Ambassador winner Sharon Lindsey (right) and Current Student Literacy Ambassador Melissa Layman (left).
A t a banquet held in January at Atlanta's Sheraton Buckhead Hotel, nearly 600 attendees joined DTAE Commissioner Michael Vollmer and Dr. Jean DeVard-Kemp, assistant commissioner, Adult Literacy Programs, to honor the 2005 winners of the Exceptional Adult Georgian in Literacy Education (EAGLE) awards.
"My heart is pounding," said Melissa Layman as she accepted her statuette and the title of 2005 Current Student Literacy Ambassador. Layman's honor was a moment of personal triumph for her, having survived abuse and homelessness before returning to complete her education. "I have traveled crooked roads and made wrong turns. But I am on the right path now." Layman, a single mother,
enrolled in adult literacy classes to provide a good example for her teenage son, and today is in the Certified Nursing Associate's program at Valdosta Technical College.
After being named the 2005 GED Graduate Literacy Ambassador, winner Sharon Lindsey stirred the crowd with her acceptance speech.
"The Adult Literacy Program has been the master key to unlock the door for unwed mothers like me who had to drop out of high school," Lindsey said. When her children's father died, Lindsey had no income. Now, she is enrolled in the Surgical Technician diploma program at Middle Georgia Technical College. The audience gave Lindsey a standing ovation
as she closed her speech. "Without the Literacy program, I
would still be in the world of `Can I? If I? Will I?' But now, I say, `I can, I have and I shall!'"
The two winning Ambassadors were selected from the group of state winners that represented each of the technical colleges.
Dr. Jean DeVard-Kemp commented on the high-energy evening. "I encourage you to take that energy back to your local communities in honor of Exceptional Adult Georgians in Literacy Education."
Commissioner Vollmer said he was left "inspired" by the winners.
"You not only thought you could, you did," he told the awardees. "And that's a great motto to live by."
"Without the Literacy program, I would still be in the world of `Can I? If I? Will I?' But now, I say, `I can, I have and I shall!'"
-- Sharon Lindsey, GED Graduate Literacy Ambassador
8 Department of Technical and Adult Education
Former DTAE Commissioner Kenneth Breeden (left) talks with new DTAE Commissioner Michael Vollmer at an evening reception and dinner.
Annual conference brings technical college team together
Each year, members of technical colleges' boards and foundations come together with college and political officials from around the state to take part in workshops and listening sessions to chart the course for the coming year.
This past November, the annual Leadership Conference was held in Savannah and was highlighted by the opening remarks from DTAE Commissioner Michael Vollmer, who had taken office only two months earlier. The commissioner's presentation gave the audience a first glimpse of his agenda for the agency, which includes a focus on quality and "telling our story."
The importance of the technical colleges "telling our story" was echoed by Georgia's Senate President Pro-Tem Eric Johnson of Savannah, who told the enthusiastic audience at the annual Legislative
Forum of the importance of "creat[ing] a vision that's understandable to the legislature." Johnson added, "Bring us along with where you are going... I think we can all work together for the future of Georgia if we've got a common vision."
The Leadership Conference is attended by the Technical College Foundation Association, which is made up of members of local college foundations, and the Technical College Directors Association, which is made up of more than 300 members of the local boards of directors of the technical colleges. The workshops are devoted to exploring ways to improve community relations and finding additional ways in which Georgia's Technical College System can better serve the people of Georgia.
Top photo: State Board Chair Harold Reynolds (left) presents Larry Comer with the first Charles Harris Award for Distinguished Service as a Member of the State Board. Bottom photo: DOL Commissioner Michael Thurmond (right), who was presented with the first Kenneth H. Breeden Award for Distinguished Leadership in Technical Education, with DTAE Commissioner Michael Vollmer.
Johnny Isakson, a republican from Georgia, spoke at the conference just over a week after his victorious election as a U.S. Senator.
Georgia's legislators participating in the 2004 Legislative Forum were, from left, Sen. Bill Hamrick, Sen. Eric Johnson, Rep. Terry Coleman, Rep. Pat Gardner and Rep. Butch Parrish. Moderating the forum was WTOC-TV broadcaster Sonny Dixon (not pictured).
RESULTS winter 2005 9
10M V Questions for DTAE's Commissioner ichael ollmer
Editor's Note: When Michael Vollmer became commissioner of the Department of Technical and Adult Education, his selection was universally praised. Few professional educators have had the broad range of experiences that he has, from helping start the HOPE Program, to working with five governors and most recently serving as president of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. Recently, Commissioner Vollmer sat down with DTAE Communications Director Rodger Brown to share some thoughts about where the agency has been and what he has planned for its future.
QWhat role do you see technical education playing in today's economy?
ATechnical education is playing a more vital role in our economy than ever before. Traditionally, technical education has been looked upon as vocational training, and that was okay through the '50s, '60s, '70s and even into the '80s. But our economy has changed dramatically in the last 50 years from one that required only about 15 percent of our workforce to have specialized skills, to one that requires at least 75 to 85 percent to have formal technical training. So, we've gone from an economy that got by with vocational training to an economy that relies on high-tech training.
Who would have ever thought that our technical colleges would one day be training students to build race cars? Who would have thought that we would be playing a central role in developing nursing programs to address the shortage in health care workers? We're able to do this because our system has been responsive to the changing job market, not only in our state, but in the nation. That's why technical education and Georgia's Technical College System are more vital than ever.
QIn what areas of technical education do you anticipate there being the greatest need in the next few years?
AGeorgia is a large and changing state, and each region has some specific needs. What we're seeing is that one size
10 Department of Technical and Adult Education
doesn't fit all anymore. That's why we are developing a system-wide strategic plan to identify these specific regional needs and develop programming to address them. For example, in Savannah the Ports Authority is looking at deepening the harbor there. With a deeper harbor, the Ports will be able to handle bigger ships and more cargo. Once that happens, there will be millions of additional square feet of warehouse space added. And with more activity at our ports, we're going to need people trained in logistics and transportation to move that cargo, not only off the ships but to wherever its destination may be. So, in that area, we'll have to ramp up programs in logistics, transportation, and warehouse and distribution.
Now, if we move over to Columbus, we see that area becoming a major health care and financial services hub in our state. They probably don't need a whole lot of dock workers in Columbus, so for that reason we need to focus on meeting their needs in those other industries. In Macon, we've got aerospace; in other areas, agribusiness. We could go on and on. The key is, when we look at the future, we need to look strategically at what each region in Georgia will need. Meeting those emerging needs with the appropriate workforce development and technical training programs will be the key to our success.
QGeorgia's Technical College System has experienced tremendous growth in recent years. What kind of growth do you anticipate for the future, and what challenges do you foresee with regard to balancing quantity with quality?
AWell, we have to look at a couple of things. First, we have to distinguish between `growth' and `managed growth.' And second, we have to consider quality versus quantity. Let me explain. Managed growth is where we look at what jobs Georgia needs in each region, and then target our resources to provide what communities determine is needed to accomplish the workforce and economic development that fits best in their regions.
Quality is another matter. I think our major concern needs to be the quality. For instance, it's okay to boast
`We're the economic engine
of Georgia, but also its
best-kept secret... '
about having 150,000 students in our system. But the questions we have to ask ourselves are, how many of those do we retain after one year? How many do we graduate? How many go on to a good career? To me, what's more important than just sheer numbers is what we do with the numbers once we get them. We do a remarkable job in some of these areas, but I think we have to focus on retention, graduation and what our graduates do once they go out into the world.
QHow do you see the DTAE responding to the findings of the Commission for a New Georgia?
AThe Commission for a New Georgia currently is identifying those industries that Georgia is going to focus on recruiting to our state. As these industries are identified, we have to respond. For instance, if we decide that an industry is important to have, then we have to make sure we equip our schools with the right resources so that we produce enough graduates in that area. It's the same with the aerospace industry, life sciences, agribusiness, etc. If we're going to strategically target and recruit certain industries, then we have got to be prepared to train the workforce for those industries.
QFor many years, Quick Start and the technical colleges have provided support for Georgia's manufacturers. As manufacturing evolves, how do you see that role changing?
AI see an even greater role for our agency in working with manufacturers. What do I mean by that? For many people,
manufacturing in Georgia has been viewed as a low-wage, low-skill enterprise. But that's not an accurate picture. That type of manufacturing has either packed up and left, or the moving trucks are pulling up in front of the company door right now. That type of manufacturing -- low-skill, low-wage manufacturing -- has gone overseas, and it will never come back. Today, however, we are seeing a new type of manufacturing growing in our country, one that requires employees to understand more sophisticated equipment and how to control the steady flow of information and data that is required in today's manufacturing processes. To adequately train a workforce that is adapted to this new environment, we need to not only re-train existing workers, but, more importantly, prepare a younger generation to work in these environments.
QHow important is it to promote and market Georgia's Technical College System to everyday citizens so they will recognize the sophistication and the quality of contemporary technical education?
AAs an economic developer once told me, our system of technical colleges is the economic engine of the state, but we're also the best-kept secret. He was absolutely right on both counts: We are the economic engine and the best-kept secret. People really don't know what we do and what our business is. People in my generation still view technical education -- if they haven't had an opportunity to see it firsthand -- as what they experienced in high school, which was an hour-long shop class. That was our exposure to it. But once you see the fantastic things that are happening around our colleges, you realize that technical education today is much more than that. We are preparing people with high-tech skills. About 25 percent of our population will graduate from a traditional fouryear college, but that leaves 75 percent that needs other kinds of training. These folks need to recognize that our technical colleges are an incredible opportunity that's available to them to help build successful careers.
Continued next page
RESULTS SPRING 2005 11
Continued from previous page
QHow can the technical colleges help address the problem of the drop-out rate in Georgia and motivate middle and high school students to complete their educations?
AWe already have roughly 8,000 high school students involved with our dual enrollment programs, and a study of the effectiveness of these programs has shown that nearly 98 percent of those students graduate from high school. The studies have shown that as we increase our partnerships with the high schools in working with students, we graduate the vast majority of those students very successfully. With that successful model, we can go further; we can get down to the ninth and 10th grades where many students are first making that decision to drop out.
We can work with our high school colleagues and create programs where we can reach those students that aren't interested in staying in high school, and move them into a career program so they can learn a skill, become interested and motivated, and maybe, just maybe, then they'll continue their education and graduate from high school.
QWhat kind of relationship do you see existing between the University System of Georgia and the DTAE?
AWe have a great relationship with the University System, but we need an even better one. Here's why. In the next few decades, people are going to be coming to us for job skills and job training, but there will also be an increasing demand for the kind of education provided by four-year colleges. Many of our folks will come to our schools and get their training and then go into the world of work. They might be working for five or 10 years and decide they want to advance further, and they realize they're going to need a four-year degree. So what we need to do is make sure that we have a system of higher education -- both the Regents and our system -- where a student can move from one to another. And it works in reverse as well. We see more and more graduates of four-year colleges realizing they need to have skills in a certain area and then coming to us. So we need to make sure that there is this connectivity both between us and the Regents and between the Regents and us.
Ultimately, what we need to be focused on is what's best for the students in the state of Georgia. We need to make sure that these students have options to get whatever training and education they want. But we also need to make sure that if a student changes his or her mind, that
Around the State in 60 Days
When Michael Vollmer officially assumed the role of
commissioner of the DTAE, he spelled out an ambitious goal: visit 34 campuses in 60 days.
"It seemed like a reasonable target," he recalls. "I assumed that since it averages out to be a little more than one campus every two days, how hard could it be? But I forgot there were such things as weekends, holidays and my family."
Undaunted, he stuck to his pledge, and after 60 days had completed tours of 32 of Georgia's 34 technical colleges, coming up only two short due to conflicts with the governor's budget meetings.
"It would have been nice to have done all 34, but I figured the two I missed wouldn't mind, considering it was either a visit from me, or funding for next year. I'm sure they agree that I made the right choice."
12 Department of Technical and Adult Education
there's an easy way of changing and going in another direction. What I envision is a system of higher education in Georgia where students can choose to go into whichever door they want -- whether the Georgia Technical College System or the University System. But, they can be assured that even after they've made that first choice, they will be able to move freely from one building to another without too many hurdles being placed in front of them.
QHaving been a president of a college, how do you think that experience will influence your role as a commissioner overseeing 34 technical colleges?
AHaving had the opportunity to be a president, but also having been senior vice chancellor in the University System, I know how the central office works, and I know how a college operates. I guess that's good and bad for college presidents. The good thing is that I know how they operate. The bad thing is that I know how they operate. [laughs] But, really what I recognize is that our 34 technical colleges need to have as much autonomy as possible. Obviously, you need to have a system, but we need to let the creative juices flow at each local college so that they can determine what's best for that local area. In turn, we need a central office to set policy, set some guidelines. The central office should serve, as much as anything, as a customer service-driven resource for our campuses. Our colleges really drive our system, so what we need to be is the place where they can come to get assistance and support, rather than being a hindrance to their operations.
QThe first thing you did as commissioner was set out to visit all 34 campuses in 60 days. What were some of the most unexpected things you learned during your tours?
AThe surprising thing to me was the creativity of our people out there. They had been through a very difficult three-year period with the recent budget reductions, but despite that, they had been creative in terms of new ways of delivering programs. For instance, we expect to have about 35,000 students taking online courses from us this year. Just think about having to build 35,000 extra seats. But, instead, we're educating 35,000 students, by and large, off campus. So that's one innovative response to the challenge. The other thing is just the tremendous variety of innovative programs that I've seen on each of our campuses. You can't use a cookie cutter to describe our campuses. Each one is a little different than the other one. And each one is trying to push the envelope in this direction, in that direction. The most interesting and inspiring thing to me is just the tremendous creativity of the people working at our colleges, and their dedication to doing the best we can for the people of Georgia.
RESULTS SPRING 2005 13
WELLSTAR & NORTH METRO TECH
Radiologic Technology students and instructors from North Metro Tech review X-rays.
Unique partnerships benefit both technical college students and local businesses
`The collaboration benefits our entire community.'
Steve Dougherty, North Metro Tech
In years past, businesses dealt with their shortage of qualified employees through a combination of wishful thinking and cutthroat recruiting. Now, however, a model of collaboration is being developed between Georgia's technical colleges and Georgia's businesses that benefits both technical college students -- who usually graduate straight into a good job -- and Georgia's businesses, which have a guaranteed source of talent and skill.
This new model of collaboration is -- in the words that everyone inevitably uses when describing these innovative relationships -- a "win-win."
Mark Haney, vice president of professional services at WellStar Health Systems, has firsthand experience. When his company found itself facing the ever-growing demand for the use of imaging technology in health care -- X-rays, MRIs, CT scans -- it looked for the best solution to the shortage of trained radiology technologists. At first, administrators at this
five-hospital, not-for-profit health system operating in the northwest metro Atlanta area considered starting up their own Radiologic Technology program.
Then they got a better idea. "I realized we could start a program that would benefit both the students and WellStar," says Haney, who is also on the local board of North Metro Technical College. Students would have jobs waiting for them after graduation, and WellStar would have a well-trained workforce. It was a perfect fit. "Once we recognized the need, we worked quickly to create a program within months so WellStar could benefit from a pool of trained applicants," says North Metro Tech President Steve Dougherty. (For more on the partnership, see President's Perspective, p. 37.) "For both North Metro students and WellStar," Haney says, repeating the mantra of this model of collaboration between businesses and Georgia's technical colleges, "it's a win-win."
14 Department of Technical and Adult Education
MERIAL & GWINNETT TECH
Sharing "people power" to improve animal care
That collaborative model is catching on. A similar synergy occurred when Duluth-based animal health company Merial partnered with Gwinnett Technical College to help support that college's Veterinary Technology program. "Merial is a leading, cutting-edge company in the field of veterinary science and medicine," says Gwinnett Tech President Sharon Rigsby, "and this partnership is a true asset to our students. Not only is the company committing funds for equipment and supplies that will help make our classrooms and labs the best in the business, but it is also willing to share its people
`Merial's commitment is a testimony to the type of civic-minded organization our area acquired when they moved here.'
Sharon Rigsby, Gwinnett Tech President
power and provide guest speakers to help educate our students."
Over the past two years, Merial has valued its relationship with Gwinnett Tech enough to contribute $30,000 to help outfit a new veterinary technology lab.
"They needed money for lab space, and we needed to use our knowledge base in-house to get experience with teaching," says Dr. Zachary Mills, Merial's executive director of veterinary services for companion animals. "I needed the opportunity for my people to work with technicians to help their classroom skills.
"Gwinnett Tech has excellent facilities for seminars and meetings," Mills says, noting that Merial has about 700 employees at its Duluth headquarters, and the company operates in more than 150 countries worldwide.
Mills says Merial finds tremendous value in the relationship, with Gwinnett Tech's Veterinary Technology program filling a "desperate need" for licensed technicians in Georgia. To deliver quality medicine, each veterinarian needs a support staff of
Continued next page
`Gwinnett Tech's program fills a
"desperate need" for licensed veterinary
technicians in Georgia.'
Dr. Zachary Mills, Merial Executive Director of
Veterinary Services for Companion Animals
Gwinnett Tech Veterinary Technology Instructor Paige Tharpe (center) examines a sample slide with student Arlene Johnston (right).
RESULTS winter 2005 15
THE CLASSIC CENTER, HOLIDAY INN & ATHENS TECH
Continued from previous page
four licensed technicians, he says, "and qualified people are very hard to come by."
"Their commitment is a real testimony to the type of civicminded organization our area acquired when Merial moved here," Rigsby says.
Mills returns the compliment. "It's a win-win for both of us."
Helping the hospitality industry have a nice day
Sometimes the collaboration between a technical college
and local businesses is more
complex. In Athens, for exam-
ple, the Hospitality Resource
Panel, a group of businesses
involved in the hospitality
and tourism industry, used
grant money to analyze the
market in that college town
Chef Robert Campbell demonstrates his skills for Athens Tech Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management Program Director Jackie Wilson (far left) and students.
and study the feasibility of a hospitality program at Athens Technical College.
Paul Cramer, executive
director of the Classic Center,
the renovated historic fire station that is a cornerstone of Athens'
convention and performing arts business, says the study demon-
strated the dramatic need for such a program. It showed that at
least 110 entry-level hospitality jobs are created each year in
Athens, and two-thirds of potential employers said they would pay
an average of $5,000 more a year to an employee with some kind
of hospitality degree.
The partnership that developed as a result of the study,
Cramer says, echoing the refrain heard across the state, is
a "win-win" for both the Classic Center and Athens Tech. The
Classic Center provides classroom space and its new kitchen for
the college to train students in. The school provides interns to the
Classic Center, which in turn can get a first look at those who
might later become valuable employees.
Photo courtesy of Athens Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The Classic Center in Athens, Ga. 16 Department of Technical and Adult Education
"Our success lies not in the four walls of the building, but in the
quality of people working at the Classic Center," Cramer says. "So if
we can `grow our own' future staffers, that means more business,
more economic development and more tourism for the region."
To create the hospitality managers of the future, the program
emphasizes customer service and trains the students in areas such
as event planning, hospitality accounting, psychology, marketing
and food and beverage management.
"When people think
about hospitality, they think of cooking or waiters. But we are very much focused on getting students supervisory or management positions," says Dr. Jackie Wilson, pro-
Top photo, below: Dede Farmer of Holiday Inn discusses design samples with Athens Tech student intern Jesse Schaudies. Center and bottom photos: Trish Cahill of Holiday Inn inspects fitness facilities with Athens Tech student Blaine Williams.
gram director. The demand
is so great these days that
practically every graduate
has a job waiting for them,
Athens Tech also formed
a strong partnership with
Motel Enterprises Inc.
(which owns Athens Holiday
Inn, Holiday Inn Express
and the under-construction
Hilton Gardens). On behalf
of Holiday Inn, Motel
Enterprises Inc. President
Lewis Schropshire recently
donated $10,000 to the pro-
gram and has sponsored four
student internships at the
Athens Holiday Inn.
"We're just delighted that
Athens Tech has established
a Hotel, Restaurant and
program," Schropshire says.
"Our hotel industry is
famished for people who
have a blend of academic
and on-the-job training."
Currently, student Jesse
Schaudies is interning at
Athens Holiday Inn. He
shadows a sales manager, and
his business skills have sharp-
ened rapidly. "I've learned a
lot about ADR (average daily
rate), which is a breakdown
of how much profit is made
per room, per day. I've
NATIONAL KIDNEY FOUNDATION & ATLANTA TECH
`Our Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management program... is now flourishing and making an impact in this industry...'
Dr. Flora Tydings, Athens Tech President
Athens Tech Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management program student Michael Richardson (left) with Lewis Schropshire, president of Motel Enterprises Inc.
learned about how salespeople handle contracts." A few years ago, Schaudies' appetite for the hospitality industry
was whetted when he worked a summer job as a bellman. When he first heard about Athens Tech's hospitality program, he signed up. "I always wanted something like this because I love working with people," he says. "I love seeing people walk away with a big smile."
Athens Tech President Dr. Flora Tydings says she's "honored" to have the partnership between the school, the Classic Center and Holiday Inn.
Hemodialysis Technician Program Instructor Don Britton (standing, at right) with Atlanta Tech students.
"Through their strong support, our Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management program is not only up and running," Tydings says, "but is flourishing and making an impact in this industry throughout Northeast Georgia."
Teaming up to address health care crises
Occasionally the motivation for developing a relationship is more than just business. Atlanta Technical College's Hemodialysis Technician program is the perfect example.
Begun in 2000, this certificate program was developed in partnership with the National Kidney Foundation of Georgia to help address the increasing incidence of kidney disease in the state and the resulting shortage of workers trained to help facilitate hemodialysis. It's a problem the administration at Atlanta Tech takes personally.
"Our service area is predominantly African-American, and our population has a high occurrence of kidney disease," says Lesia Jackson, director of the Allied Health Department at Atlanta Tech. "It's a great feeling to provide a crucial service for the people and the health care industry."
Continued next page
RESULTS SPRING 2005 17
`The competence of the dialysis technician is far more important to the patient than any other person they deal with at the clinic.'
Chris Starr, National Kidney Foundation of Georgia CEO
Continued from previous page
Prior to the program's inception, the school and the foundation
embarked on a year of serious curriculum research.
"We got a group of nurses and administrators together and
"Dynamic partnerships are the key to meeting their critical need for
worked with the Georgia Council of Dialysis Technicians," says Chris Starr, CEO of the National Kidney Foundation of Georgia. "A statewide, standardized curriculum for technical colleges was developed."
highly skilled health professionals."
Currently, there are 225 hemodialysis clinics in Georgia that serve 16,000 patients, which is more than double the number of clinics (100) and patients (6,000) that existed a decade ago. By 2010,
Dr. Brenda Watts Jones, Atlanta Tech President
the estimated population of dialysis patients grows to 35,000.
"So there's a strong necessity of
providing consistent educational
experiences," Starr says. The cur-
riculum developed by Atlanta
Tech and the National Kidney
Foundation of Georgia was later
adopted to implement a
Hemodialysis Technician pro-
gram at Moultrie Technical
College and Central Georgia Technical College as well.
The average dialysis patient spends 12 hours per week in a
clinic, and the hemodialysis technician is the primary contact.
"The professional attitude and competence of the dialysis techni-
cian is far more important to the patient than any other person
they deal with at the clinic," Starr says.
The dialysis technician is responsible for inserting a needle in
the patient's artery, from which blood is drawn out and cleansed,
and then returned to the body. Blood pressure can fluctuate while
the patient is on dialysis, so the technician must also administer
saline to regulate blood pressure.
Atlanta Tech student Katrina Artison signed up for the pro-
gram because several family members are diabetic and at risk for
kidney disease. "I wanted to learn how to take care of my family
when future medical problems come up," Artison says. Artison,
who once held a job photographing newborns at Atlanta Medical
Center, plans to work in a dialysis clinic. "I want to have a real
impact on caring for people."
"We are unique in that Atlanta Tech is surrounded by 11
major health care facilities," explains Dr. Brenda Watts Jones,
president of Atlanta Tech. "Dynamic partnerships are the
Top photo: Chris Starr, National Kidney Foundation of Georgia CEO. Bottom photo: Atlanta Tech Hemodialysis Technician student Katrina Artison (right) practices her technique with fellow student Brandi Mays.
key to meeting their critical need for highly skilled health professionals."
18 Department of Technical and Adult Education
Getting good under the hood
The need for speciality mechanics has led to a close relationship between DeKalb Technical College and BMW.
In December 2004, BMW donated $10,000 in scholarship funds to four DeKalb Tech students. The money will go toward providing the students with their own sets of tools required for working on the luxury autos. "All car dealerships require that technicians own a hefty set of tools," says Natalie Kostas, chair of DeKalb Tech's Industrial and Transportation Technologies Department. Four Automotive Technology students each received a $2,500 scholarship: Nathan Mashabatu, Dawan Syed Muhammad, Patrick Carter and Steven Pittman. The relationship between DeKalb Tech and BMW got its start several years ago, and last year the car company pushed a new innovation when it invited a DeKalb Tech student to participate in its MetroSTEP program. The program "takes our training programs and modifies them to attract people who could not afford BMW training," says Russ Lucas, BMW's regional after-sales manager for the Southern region.
Continued next page
Above, from left: Dekalb Tech's Industrial and Transportation Technologies Department Chair, Natalie Kostas, DeKalb Tech Automotive Technology Instructor Bob Horn, BMW scholarship students Nathan Mashabatu and Patrick Carter, and DeKalb Tech Automotive Technology Instructor Frank Perry.
BMW & DEKALB TECH
`These scholarships are a testament to the quality of skilled graduates we produce at DeKalb Technical College.'
Dr. Robin Hoffman, DeKalb Tech President
RESULTS SPRING 2005 19
Top photo: Model trains used in the classroom of Okefenokee Tech's Freight Conductor program. Bottom photo: Okefenokee Tech Freight Conductor graduate Kris Overstreet demonstrates signaling.
Continued from previous page
MetroSTEP program is impor-
tant to BMW's recruitment
efforts. "We need to look at
fishing in other ponds: people
who want an automotive career
but who cannot afford full-time
training that can cost $15,000,"
The scholarships are "an opportunity to pre-cull the students who might be interested in MetroSTEP," Lucas says.
BMW scholarship student Nathan Mashabatu uses a digital diagnostic device on the donated 2001 700 Series BMW car.
"We know these students come
from economic need. In most cases, the money is earmarked for
tools. This is one of the barriers of entry to get a good internship
or go out and work part-time while in school."
DeKalb Tech is proud of its relationship with BMW, which
has produced strong results: a car, scholarship money and a job
for a graduate.
"We are very grateful to BMW for offering these scholarships
to students in our Automotive Service Technology programs
and feel it is a testament to the quality of skilled graduates we
produce at DeKalb Tech," says Dr. Robin Hoffman, president of
The relationship is, she concludes, is a "win-win."
Keeping it on track
When freight transportation company CSX found itself needing an increased supply of conductors for its trains, the company approached Okefenokee Technical College with a proposition: If the college started a Freight Conductor program, the company could almost guarantee that it would hire every successful graduate.
In 2000, Okefenokee Tech became one of only three colleges in the United States to offer such a non-credit program.
CSX assigned Okefenokee Tech a specific Southeastern territory that includes Waycross, Savannah, Fitzgerald, Augusta and Thomasville in Georgia; Montgomery and Dothan, Ala.; Greenville, Spartanburg, Abbeville and Columbia, SC.
"We have recruiters who travel to those locations and hold testing and interview sessions to qualify individuals for the program," says Dr. Neil Aspinwall, VP of Economic Development programs at Okefenokee Tech.
Periodically, CSX notifies the school that the company needs a certain number of freight conductors. The school then contacts the qualified individuals and asks them if they are ready to enroll in the next class.
The training is intense: Applicants attend class full-time for 25 days. Students are trained on CSX-copyrighted material approved by the Federal Rail Association and the American Association of Rail. Three days of training in the field is required in the Freight
20 Department of Technical and Adult Education
CSX, GATX & OKEFENOKEE TECH
Okefenokee Tech Freight Conductor program Instructor Wesley Proctor (far left) oversees a demonstration of proper switch usage.
"The Freight Conductor program provides a great opportunity for a lifetime career."
Dr. Neil Aspinwall, Okefenokee Tech VP of Economic Development
Conductor program, and that takes place at the rail facilities of General American Transportation Corporation (GATX), located just three miles from the college.
"GATX has been an important partner in the success of the program," says Aspinwall. "Without this working relationship, Okefenokee Tech would have to rent rail facilities in other parts of the county to complete this training."
CSX is delighted with the results. "The Okefenokee Tech staff is extremely professional and accommodating. They work hard to provide solid training," says Denise Purdie, director of conductor hiring and training at CSX.
Thorough training is a necessity for freight conductors because mistakes can have life-or-death consequences. "The rail industry is unforgiving," Aspinwall says. "You make a mistake and you lose a life."
CSX isn't required to hire all the graduates of the Freight Conductor program, but most are selected. "Generally, we accept 97 percent of graduates who pass the background check and medical exam," Purdie says. Since 2000, Okefenokee Tech has trained 494 students, and 486 have been hired by CSX.
Graduates complete several additional weeks of training at CSX before starting their first job. "There is a potential to make $50,000 to $100,000 a year," Aspinwall says.
The freight conductor profession is a reliable steppingstone to advancement within CSX. Purdie notes that 100 percent of CSX's train engineers once worked as freight conductors, along with 90 percent of yard masters (who oversee operations at a rail yard) and 26 percent of train dispatchers.
"The Freight Conductor program provides a great opportunity for a lifetime career," Aspinwall says.
Below: Okefenokee Tech Freight Conductor Instructor Wesley Proctor (in red hard hat) watches as Harlan Thornton demonstrates a three-point dismount. Right: Instructor Garland Chick (far left) uses model trains in a demonstration in Okefenokee Tech's Freight Conductor program classroom.
RESULTS SPRING 2005 21
At left, (left to right): Dr. Jean DeVard-Kemp, DTAE assistant commissioner, Adult Literacy Programs, and Tammera Deliford, TANF GED Student of the Year. Below, from left: Kim Lee, OAL
director, Assessment, Evaluation and GED Administration, and Pamela Dean, EAGLE GED Student of the Year. At right, (left to
right): Ian McMahon, GED Exemplary Performance winner and Coy Hodges, retired technical college president. Far right, (left to right): Dr. DeVard-Kemp, Patrick Gregg,
Youth Challenge GED Student of the Year, and Coy Hodges.
In Praise of P Annual celebration of adult literacy hails successes and offers
Nearly 1,000 of Georgia's adult literacy professionals gathered recently to focus on the professional development of statewide staff, and to celebrate the accomplishments made during 2004 helping the state's citizens achieve personal goals in education.
"Passion" was the watchword for the annual conference, which was held at Atlanta's Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel, where Hamilton Northcutt, award-winning co-host of Georgia Business Report, served as mistress of ceremonies. Opening the conference, Office of Adult Literacy (OAL) Assistant Commissioner Dr. Jean DeVard-Kemp inspired the audience with her call "to move forward in a positive and aggressive manner" to provide
support, guidance and opportunity for Georgia's citizens. The chief learning officer of Stephenson High School,
Morcease Beasley, picked up the theme of passionate dedication in his address, telling the enthusiastic crowd, "Your passion will determine your level of success. I want you to be very encouraged about what you do."
Conference attendees had good reason to be encouraged. Last year, they helped more than 18,000 Georgians earn their GED, which for many people is the first step on a path to new careers, and for others is the achievement of a lifetime's aspiration. The success rate for GED students made Georgia's the sixth-best adult literacy program in the nation in 2004.
22 Department of Technical and Adult Education
development for the future
By Laura Kenney
That accomplishment did not go unrecognized. Attending one of his first events as the newly appointed commissioner of the Georgia Department of Technical and Adult Education, Michael Vollmer praised the work of the statewide network of professionals working in the field of adult literacy.
"You are making a tremendous impact on what is happening in the state," Vollmer told attendees.
State Board Chair Harold Reynolds echoed the sentiment. "All of us in the state appreciate you and the work that you do," he said.
And State Board Adult Literacy Committee Chair Tyre Rakestraw noted that he personally could testify to
Continued next page
From left: State Board Vice Chair Rhubarb Jones; former BellSouth Chairman and CEO B. Franklin Skinner; Stephenson High School Chief Learning Officer Morcease Beasley; State Board Chair Harold Reynolds; and mistress of ceremonies for the closing session, Hamilton Northcutt.
year old GED Graduate Wins Student of the Year
Seventy years ago, Rock Spring, Ga., resident Lillian Turner let math get the best of her, and she gave up on formal education. In 2004, Turner conquered her fear of numbers, earning not only her GED, but a Student of the Year award in the process.
Turner still remembers the frustrating geometry class that led her to drop out of high school two weeks into her senior year. "I just became discouraged," says Turner, who spent the better part of the next seven decades as a real estate agent and helping her husband pastor a congregation.
Six children, 16 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren later, the 88-year-old Turner was working as an adult literacy tutor in Rossville when another teacher, Lila McDonald, approached her about earning her GED. "I didn't really think anything about earning my GED until Lila approached me," says Turner, who was wary of re-entering a classroom.
"It was a challenge," Turner says, "but I went every day. Geometry was one thing I was afraid of, but Lila helped me."
In the end, Turner completed the GED preparation course at Northwestern Technical College in record time. At age 87, Turner earned her GED and at age 88
was named the 2004 Office of Adult Literacy's Golden EAGLE GED Student of the Year. "I was
really surprised," says Turner, who plans to begin attending computer classes at Northwestern Tech soon. And as for geometry? "I'm not afraid of it," laughs Turner, "but I'm still not crazy about it."
Dr. Jean DeVardKemp (left) with 2004 Golden EAGLE Lillian Turner.
RESULTS SPRING 2005 23
Continued from previous page
the quality of the state's adult literacy efforts. "I have seen firsthand the outstanding job that you do," he said.
"I have looked forward to the opportunity to be with you here today," GED luncheon keynote speaker and retired BellSouth Chairman and CEO B. Franklin Skinner told attendees. "In spite of the challenges, you have continued to persevere and you have succeeded," said Skinner. "My challenge to you today is to build on your success and set goals to build on your mission and take you to new heights."
The conference's convener, WSB-TV reporter Tom Jones, encouraged the educators at the conference to keep up their good work.
"You are all vital to the adult literacy equation in Georgia," Jones said.
"The vision of teaching everyone in Georgia, one adult at a time, is laudable."
Sharon Rigsby, Gwinnett Tech President
From top (left to right): State Board Chair Harold Reynolds, retired technical college president Coy Hodges, and DTAE Commissioner Michael Vollmer; presenter Tammy Frohling of the Georgia Student Finance Commission (HOPE); conference attendees at a professional development workshop; literacy professionals at a discussion session.
24 Department of Technical and Adult Education
`You deal with challenges every day...You're changing those challenges into opportunities.'
Harold Reynolds, State Board Chair
Promoting professional development
To guarantee that work in adult literacy continues at a high level, a large part of the annual conference is dedicated to a wide range of staff development sessions. During the workshops, adult literacy professionals update and learn new skills in areas ranging from managing document review processes to maintaining quality standards, developing programs for younger adult learners and incorporating citizenship in the adult literacy classroom.
"The staff development sessions are designed to be interactive, motivational and give you the tools you need to maintain your level of excellence," explained DeVard-Kemp.
Such tools helped adult literacy professionals maintain high standards for GED graduates statewide, standards that were celebrated at the GED award winners luncheon, where top GED students from across the state were honored.
Some of the GED students who achieved new heights in 2004 were recognized during the luncheon. They included Golden EAGLE GED Student of the Year Lillian Turner from Rock Spring (see sidebar, p. 23), who earned her GED at age 87, and GED Exemplary Performance winner Ian McMahon from Austell, who was just 70 points shy of a perfect GED score.
In addition to their professional passion, attendees also showed their enthusiasm for the ever-popular conference silent auction, which raised money for the Adult Literacy EAGLE program.
"We've just had a blast," said auctioneer and Adult Literacy Director of the Savannah-Chatham County Board of Education Patrick Rossiter, who helped auction off such "heavy-duty items" as a Callaway golf retreat and an overnight stay in Savannah.
During the final luncheon, DeVard-Kemp praised attendees for their diligence and dedication to the cause of adult literacy. "We are an organization destined for greatness," she said. "Although we have many voices, we are one organization and are united by a single purpose: to give every Georgian a chance at success.
"We can continue to move forward one step at a time," DeVard-Kemp added."In this way, we can shape a future worthy of our great past."
From top, at right: Patrick Rossiter, auctioneer and chair of the Silent Auction; 2004 State Literacy Ambassadors Simone Younge and Keith Jones do the honors at the ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the opening of the Exhibitors' Gallery and Silent Auction; auction items on display, with proceeds benefiting the EAGLE Awards program; conference convener and WSB-TV reporter Tom Jones opens the program.
RESULTS SPRING 2005 25
CMS student Lacey Hanson at North Georgia Tech's Toccoa Center.
Raising the Bar
The Certified Manufacturing Specialist program is becoming more popular across the state
At first it seems like a "Catch 22": a manufacturing business is eager to open a new plant or expand an existing one, but needs employees with a certain set of basic skills. At the same time, hundreds of people are eager for good jobs, but lack the resources to learn the skills being sought by employers.
What's a community to do? The answer: the Certified Manufacturing Specialist (CMS) program that's available through Georgia's Technical College System. Begun in 1996 at the suggestion of some business leaders in South Georgia, CMS has become an increasingly popular and effective way for manufacturing employers to prepare new employees and enhance the skills of existing ones. The program is periodically reviewed by an advisory board made up of business leaders from around the state to guarantee that the curriculum delivers what's needed in today's competitive global marketplace. "As manufacturing becomes more sophisticated, the bar is steadily being raised on what are considered basic skills," says Jackie Rohosky, DTAE assistant commissioner for Economic
Development Programs. "By continually consulting with and getting input from the manufacturers themselves, we guarantee that the CMS curriculum is the best there is for teaching new and existing employees the skills they need to be effective in the 21st century manufacturing environment."
26 Department of Technical and Adult Education
"In order to strengthen the economy in the
state, we need to focus on more of these
opportunities to work with those businesses
that need the support of a technically
Dr. Ruth Nichols North Georgia Tech President
CMS has also evolved into one of the easiest ways for individuals looking for careers in manufacturing to get the basic training they need to qualify for the available jobs. Grants available through the HOPE program make it possible for those with challenged means to go through the certification process, and at the end of the day what first seemed like an unsolvable "Catch 22," becomes a successful, synergistic collaboration among businesses, the community and local technical colleges that contributes multiple returns to Georgia's bottom line.
`CMS Preferred Community'
The businesses in and around Thomaston, Ga., recognized early on the value of CMS and embraced the program so much that recently they pitched in to buy a billboard declaring that their town was a "Certified Manufacturing Specialist Preferred Community."
"We have a local CMS advisory committee that meets quarterly at different plants in the area," says Mark Andrews, HR/Safety manager for Southern Mills' Thomaston facility, who also is the chair of the local CMS committee, "and we talk about ways to promote CMS to the public and get the word out that there are good manufacturing jobs and this is the way to get in."
"Manufacturers now realize that this is another tool they can use to develop their workforce," says Steve Daniel, VP of economic development at Flint River Technical College in Thomaston, who serves on the statewide review committee that helps develop updates to the CMS curriculum. "They promote it internally and provide incentives for people who complete the program."
"If I see CMS on an application, I'll interview that person even if I don't currently have a position open," Andrews says.
Making it work
In North Georgia, the company TI Automotive has advertised that it guarantees an interview for anybody who is CMS certified, and the offer
has inspired more than 100 area residents to enroll in the program. "This is truly a win-win situation for all involved," says Judy
Taylor, VP of economic development for North Georgia Technical College. "The company has a trained pool of applicants, North Georgia Tech got the students, and the students enhanced their knowledge, skills, and marketability, whether or not they are hired by TI Automotive." "The partnership between TI Automotive and North Georgia Tech is an example of business and industry working with technical colleges to train a workforce in a local community," says Dr. Ruth Nichols, president of North Georgia Tech. "In order to strengthen the economy in the state, we need to focus on more of these opportunities to work with those businesses that need the support of a technically trained workforce."
The next level
Executives at the Simmons Company in Waycross, Ga., thought so much of the CMS program that they have made certification a prerequisite before an applicant even gets an interview for a job at their new plant in Ware County.
Working with Quick Start and Okefenokee Technical College, Simmons has used CMS to establish a higher baseline of qualifications for employees.
"Quick Start and CMS training have more than just a monetary value," says Michelle Morn, Human Resources advisor at Simmons. "For many people, going through this process has been a life-changing decision.... We're the success story at Simmons. Our CEO said he had never been to a Simmons facility where the people were as
enthusiastic as at our facility here." Morn adds that by making CMS
a requirement for any candidate to apply, they have helped raise the bar for workforce training in South Georgia.
"This was a paradigm shift for both the employees and employers in the area," she says.
RESULTS SPRING 2005 27
Photos courtesy of the Georgia Department of Economic Development.
By Lauren Keating
The cheerful teller wishing you a nice day from behind the counter at your local bank; the ratchetwielding technician ordering just the right parts to keep your motorcycle engine purring; the white-coated lab technician, gloved hands gently positioning a test tube in a whirring, clacking machine -- what do they have in common? All learned vital
career skills thanks to Georgia's technical colleges and their willingness and ability to respond to the needs of the state's growing business and industrial community.
Programs to train these professionals and many others were developed at the technical colleges to meet unique needs identified in their areas -- whether by heeding requests from local utility companies for training and certification for an essential job, recognizing the potential of new mapmaking technology, or realizing that one of Georgia's largest industries -- agriculture -- could benefit from the application of some 21st-century business practices. In the following pages, we review these and other examples of how Georgia's technical colleges have responded to the economic and demographic developments shaping the future in their communities.
28 Department of Technical and Adult Education
Georgia's diverse workforce training needs
Mapping the unseen underground
You've seen the signs: "Caution: underground cable." Or the more ominous, "Call before you dig." They warn of the presence of the unseen maze of underground pipes and cables that weave together the infrastructure of our contemporary lifestyle. With the landscape continually being torn up and rebuilt, it has become increasingly important to know just what lies beneath our feet and where exactly it is.
If you don't, the consequences could be disastrous. "We see it on the news all the time: a gas explosion, a sewer line cut," says Consuelo Godden, Industrial Technologies Department chair at DeKalb Technical College. As development booms, especially in the densely packed counties of metro Atlanta, the need for technicians who can find and map those underground lines so the bulldozers can roll on safely has become a business necessity. More and more, utility companies are putting their lines underground -- gas, sewer, electric, water, telecommunications, fiber optics. DeKalb Tech's new Utility Locating Technician certificate program responds to that demand by providing training for those locating the utility lines that power the development. The program was a response to a need directly expressed by the utility industry. "Several utility companies said, `We need a certification process for this important job,'" Godden says. "If you need a
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Utility Locating Technician student Valerie Lyon (left) with DeKalb Tech Industrial Technologies Department Chair Consuelo Godden (center) and Utility Locating Technician student Robert Dabney (right) at DeKalb Tech's underground lines testing site.
Utility Locating Technician student Valerie Lyon (left) with DeKalb Tech Industrial Technologies Department Chair Consuelo Godden (center) and Utility Locating Technician student Robert Dabney (right) at DeKalb Tech's underground lines testing site.
Continued from previous page
license to cut someone's hair, then you definitely need certification to locate utilities, which affect everyday lives."
DeKalb Tech collaborated with industry and government to build a testing site with underground lines for gas, water, communications and power. The Covington Police Department donated land for the school's testing facility. The city of Covington and Snapping Shoals EMC (a power company) installed the lines.
"This is a perfect example of how DeKalb Tech builds effective partnerships with government agencies and industry to meet the demands for a well-trained workforce," says Dr. Robin Hoffman, president of DeKalb Tech. R
You can bank on it
Recently, officials at Northwestern Technical College in Rock Spring began to notice a trend. In a part of the state best known for tourism and textiles, suddenly more and more banks were opening.
One year later, the college was launching its Banking and Finance Assistant certificate program.
It started when Dr. Mindy McCannon, vice president of Academic Affairs at Northwestern Tech, was sitting in an advisory board meeting.
"Members started talking about how many banks were opening and merging in our service area," McCannon recalls. "It started me thinking: Northwestern Tech doesn't have a banking option to meet the needs of an entry-level employee."
After McCannon left that meeting, she started researching the idea. She found that other technical colleges had a template for such a program. Then she performed a needs analysis in her area.
McCannon contacted local bankers and asked: Would your employees be interested in this program? Would they benefit from it?
Dr. Mindy McCannon, Northwestern Tech VP of Academic Affairs.
The answer was a resounding "Yes!" McCannon also drummed up interest for the new certificate through marketing. Last fall, the college sent a letter to local banks, announcing the program. Northwestern Tech Director of Public Relations and Marketing Jay Mayfield followed up with a press release to local newspapers. Last year, McCannon expanded the classes to the school's
campus in Catoosa County. Why? "Because there's a huge growth in banking there," she says.
"This program is a great example of how, as an institution, we are able to sense the needs in our community and respond to them," says Dr. Ray Brooks, president of Northwestern Tech. "Working with local business and industry to produce a welleducated workforce means better jobs and better lives for our community." R
30 Department of Technical and Adult Education
At left: Banking and Finance Assistant students in class at Northwestern Tech.
Clockwise, from left: Chattahoochee Tech Motorcycle, ATV and Watercraft Repair student Ben Pendley working with Instructor Mark Jones; David Green, lead instructor of Automotive Technology; Ben Pendley working on a motorcycle with Instructor Joseph Gunn.
On the trail
Georgians love their outdoors, and North Georgia beckons year-round to enthusiasts who devote weekends to hugging the curves of mountain roads on their high-performance motorcycles, spitting up rooster tails on their JetSkis and See-Doos, or grinding down old logging roads on their mud-spattered ATVs.
With their campus located close to North Georgia's popular lakes and mountains, the team at Chattahoochee Technical College
was in the perfect position to spot this booming market and respond to the need for qualified technicians to repair those motorcycles, watercraft and ATVs that have been flying off the lots. "We did a lot of industry research," says David Green, lead instructor for Automotive Technology at Chattahoochee Tech. "We talked to Yamaha, Polaris, American Honda Motorcycle and local dealers such as Earl Small's Harley Davidson. We asked these industry leaders what they needed." The result was Chattahoochee Tech's Motorcycle, ATV and Watercraft Repair certificate program. "It's staggering what's happening in the motorcycle market," Green says. "Sales in metro Atlanta are growing at 25 percent a year." Technological changes are propelling the need for this training. Recently, the industry that produces motorcycles, ATVs and watercraft started implementing the advanced technology the car industry has used for years, Green says. Recreational vehicles now use computers to monitor emissions, fuel injection and fuel economy. Repair technicians must be fluent in those computer systems in order to fix the vehicles. "It's the same thing that happened to cars 20 years ago, and it takes an advanced technician to repair it." Chattahoochee Tech President Dr. Harlon Crimm says, "Many families are purchasing these vehicles, and with the increase in ownership of watercraft, ATV and motorcycles, these vehicles need to be maintained regularly. The college is producing qualified technicians to meet the anticipated demand." R
RESULTS SPRING 2005 31
Ogeechee Tech GIS student Shannon Mixon practices her skills with her GIS mapping equipment.
Predicting the Future
Athens Technical College uses new tool to forecast workforce training needs
No field has escaped the impact of digital technology, including the ancient art of cartography, or mapmaking. Scrawling "Beyond this point be dragons" is no longer a viable option for a mapmaker who doesn't have data about a section of territory. In fact, new Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology makes it possible to trace the smallest contours of the landscape and layer a wide variety of information -- from property tax data to the marital status of neighborhood residents -- on top of the basic map, creating a new breed of geographic images.
"GIS technology bridges the disciplines of computer science, information management, cartography and database management," says John Locke, director of Ogeechee Technical College's GIS associate's degree program, the only one in Georgia. "The GIS is distinguished from other systems by its ability to perform spatial analysis with a linkage to database management systems."
The scope of GIS applications spans numerous industries, and that means graduates are qualified for jobs in a vast array of fields.
Fire departments utilize GIS for fire location studies and routing emergency calls; police departments use GIS to analyze crime patterns; county assessors' offices use GIS to map and evaluate property values; planning departments use GIS to plot development growth; and military agencies use GIS for defense purposes.
"One benefit for students in the GIS program is the range of opportunities available for graduates," says Ogeechee Tech President Dr. Gene Waters. "GIS applications are found in a multitude of industries, from logistics and transportation to agriculture and forestry."
Last year, the administration at Athens Technical College saw the future -- and in it they saw a need for more nurses, electricians and paralegals in their area.
Athens Tech didn't use a crystal ball to see a North Georgia where more people were speaking the languages of torts, watts and hemostats. Instead, staffers used a new approach to forecasting occupational trends available through the Small Business Development Center at the University of Georgia (UGA).
Forecasters at Athens Tech used this new state-of-the-art economic modeling tool to collect statistics from various federal agencies and run them through a specially designed software program. The program tracks demographic and economic trends and maps them to a set of job types that are associated with those trends.
When it's all done, Athens Tech planners will have a better idea of what programs to develop to address future workforce needs.
"This modeling tool takes forecasting to a whole new level," says Sheila Weldon, Athens Tech vice president for institutional effectiveness.
Weldon gives kudos to Sharon Kane, UGA's director of applied research at the business center, who guided the study. "We intend to repeat the project every three years to update our information and guide our strategic planning for existing and new academic program offerings," Weldon says.
Athens Tech President Dr. Flora Tydings also praises the collaboration. "The work we are doing with UGA Business Outreach Services and the Small Business Development Center will allow us to better forecast growing job trends in our area. This can help us serve our students, as we can stay proactive in establishing programs that will help put our citizens to work."
"Incredible" is the word student Shannon Mixon uses to describe the program. "You can map almost anything you can think of: population, ethnicity, land values, traffic lights," Mixon says. "It's a diverse field and there are so many opportunities available." R
John Locke (right), Ogeechee Tech GIS program director, discusses GIS database information with student Shannon Mixon (left).
32 Department of Technical and Adult Education
Giving farmers the business
Despite all the headlines about booming development in Georgia, agriculture is still one of the state's largest industries. But today's farmer is a far cry from the pitchfork-and-overalls image that persists in the minds of many. These days, it takes much more than a strong back and a green thumb to work in agriculture, and with 24 percent of workers in Georgia employed in agribusiness or a related field, there is obviously a great need for training programs that bring together the eclectic set of skills required to make it on the 21st century farm. Ogeechee Technical College is filling that need with its new Agribusiness degree and diploma programs. Launched in 2003, they are the only ones offered in the state.
"The prominence of agriculture in southeast Georgia's economy demands that workforce development efforts be directed toward this industry," says Dr. Gene Waters, president
of Ogeechee Tech. To prepare them-
selves for the reality of contemporary agribusiness, students take core classes in agriculture law, agriculture policy and
agriculture finance. The program offers two specialties: e-agribusiness and operations. E-agribusiness students take classes in Web site design, networking and e-commerce. Operations students explore machinery and equipment, irrigation, animal science, poultry science, and Geographic Information Systems.
Also, marketing has become a necessary part of farming today. "Most farmers don't fail because they are bad farmers, but because they are bad businessmen," says Program Coordinator Anne Marie Kyzer. "Those in agribusiness have to be more creative to find their target market."
Chris Conner is Ogeechee Tech's first student to specialize in e-agribusiness. A second-year student, Conner developed a combination of computer skills and field experience to land a part-time job as an irrigation technician with the Georgia Soil & Water Conservation Commission. Conner performs uniformity tests on irrigation systems to help determine possible water conservation measures for farmers, who depend on the careful management of irrigation water supplies. "They are really cracking down on water use with agriculture. You don't just turn on the sprinklers and let them run anymore," he says. R
Chris Conner, Ogeechee Tech's first e-agribusiness student, at the site of one of the sprinkler systems he tests for the Georgia Soil & Water Conservation Commission.
RESULTS SPRING 2005 33
In the movie "The Graduate," Dustin Hoffman's character is buttonholed by one of his father's friends who has one word for him regarding a surefire path to career success: "Plastics."
Today, it's likely that his cocktail party wisdom would be summarized differently: "Biotech."
With biotechnology considered a hot growth area, Athens Technical College became the first technical college and two year college in the State of Georgia to offer an associate's degree in Biotechnology in 1998, a program designed to produce the workforce needed to attract new industry to the Athens-Clarke County area.
"Offering the only two-year degree in biotechnology throughout the state of Georgia has enabled us to attract tremendous instructors and students," says Athens Tech President Dr. Flora Tydings. "This has made it possible for us to become leaders in this area and establish relationships that can only help our state grow in this field."
During their first year, students explore a traditional science curriculum, including biology and chemistry. Second-year students take specialty classes in molecular biology, cell biology and microbiology. Hands-on training is crucial, and students must complete 500 hours of laboratory time where they learn cutting-edge skills, working with complex machines to separate DNA.
Athens Tech Biotechnology student Cindy Wood already had a bachelor's degree in biology. But after staying at home with her daughters for a few years, she found that hands-on skills were needed to be competitive in today's job market. "With a four-year degree, I got more theory on why things work. But at Athens Tech, I actually get to do it in the lab myself," Wood says.
The biotechnology field will continue to evolve, and Athens Tech will evolve right along with it. "The newest branch is informatics and gene splicing -- the computer applications," says Dr. Joe Pyle, Athens Tech Biotechnology program director. "The advanced instruction is what really sets us apart."
"When you talk to employers, what they want in a lab tech is the basics," Pyle adds. "And that is the knowledge and training needed to make the right decisions and to solve problems." R
Dr. Joe Pyle, Athens Tech Biotechnology program director (above at right), works with Athens Tech Biotechnology student Cindy Wood (above at left and immediate left) in the laboratory.
34 Department of Technical and Adult Education
Creating New Programs to Face New Challenges: Georgia's technical colleges are continually developing new programs to respond to changing technology and market trends. To make sure the programs are properly designed and implemented, new offerings go through a rigorous review process. "All of our initiatives are driven by the needs of business and industry," says Chuck Beall, DTAE assistant commissioner overseeing the Office of Technical Education. "The process we have in place guarantees that our new programs are the most proactive and cost-effective we can deliver."
Regional business and industry need
design new curriculum based on
Required faculty and
New program promoted and
State Board approves or disapproves
DTAE and State Board review new
Local board approves or disapproves
Picture this: You're at the office and notice that it's getting
cold outside. So you log on to your computer and turn up the heat
in your house (which is 10 miles away).
Then, still at your office desk, you access the Internet-enabled
oven in your home kitchen and start cooking dinner.
When you arrive home, the temperature is toasty warm,
dinner is ready and your choice of flicks is already cued up on
your home theater system.
Who would have thought that "The Jetsons" was actually a
fairly accurate portrait of the American future, where the modern
home is configured so appliances, home security systems and home
theaters are controlled remotely?
What once was science fiction is now science fact, as more and
more wired communities are making broadband telecommunica-
tions available to the average consumer. As new homes increasingly
are being designed as Internet-ready digital cocoons, North
Metro Technical College has
cate program, the
first in the state.
Students in the
program take classes
in areas such as elec-
nication and data
North Metro Tech Home Technology Integration Specialist students help construct the home integration "house."
cabling, and security systems. Technical skills are practiced on a
Greg Palmer, North Metro Tech Electronics Technology instructor (left), at the site of the home integration "house."
mock three-room "house" that the school is building, says Greg Palmer, North Metro Tech Electronics Technology instructor.
The real-world model contains a home theater with DVD player, surround sound, lighting and a security system, all of which are controlled by computers in the home office next door. There is also a "kitchen," which the school is outfitting with the newest Internet-ready appliances.
"Some of this technology has been around for a long time, but it was for the super-wealthy," Palmer says. "But prices have come down, and it's now affordable to a much broader audience."
The applications for home integration technology are endless. Imagine: You and your spouse go out, leaving the kids with a sitter. Since it's a new sitter, you want to check in. Using your cell phone, you remotely log in to the home camera system and see what the sitter and kids are up to.
The certificate prepares students for jobs with companies that build home theaters, home security systems and home networks.
The Home Technology Integration Specialist certificate is "a good example of how we adapt to the changing workforce," says Steve Dougherty, president of North Metro Tech. R
RESULTS SPRING 2005 35
Melinda Dobbs, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Manager of Cardiac Research (right) works with program participant Molly Merritt (left), as Dr. Robert Powers, Gwinnett Tech Bioscience program director (far right in inset below), looks on.
New medical treatments need to be refined; new drugs need to be tested; even old drugs need to be reviewed to ensure their safety -- think Vioxx.
Working behind the scenes to continually improve the methods and tools of health care are the laboratory technicians who have been trained in the protocols and procedures of clinical research. In metro Atlanta, with its high concentration of research hospitals, the need for these trained professionals is acute. That's why Gwinnett Technical College -- motivated by industry demand -- is launching the state's first Clinical Research Professional (CRP) program.
"With the CRP program, Gwinnett Tech will bridge the gap that exists in the field, and open up a world of opportunities for our citizens," says Gwinnett Tech President Sharon Rigsby.
The origin of the program was an off-the-cuff remark made by a member of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, says Dr. Robert Powers, program director of Gwinnett Tech's Bioscience Department. "We were discussing our new Bioscience program at Gwinnett Tech, and the member said, `Well, if you are looking for a new program, we really need some clinical research professionals.'"
Powers researched the idea by calling a colleague, Rob Merritt, director of clinical research at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, who confirmed the growing need. Then, Powers assem-
36 Department of Technical and Adult Education
bled a strong advisory committee consisting of members from Emory University Hospital, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, DeKalb Medical Center and Northeast Georgia Medical Center. They all agreed the CRP program was an idea whose time had come. When the creation of the program was announced at an industry dinner at DeKalb Medical Center, Powers recalls, "There was a standing ovation. It's always very gratifying to feel you are filling a need." A CRP plays a crucial role in medical studies, helping to identify and enroll qualified patients, administering medications and following patients through the course of the medical research study. When medical research studies are performed, the CRP is the vital link between patients, doctors and drug companies. "We have a very active medical research community in Atlanta," Merritt says. "And to have a resource like Gwinnett Tech, where we can train folks locally, is an excellent partnership. They have an excellent track record of training people in a wellprepared fashion. It's a great fit for the medical research community." "The Certified Research Professional is just one of several programs we are investigating in the bioscience area," Rigsby adds. "We've designed this program, as well as others, to produce workers who are up to speed with today's newer technologies and newer human sciences." R
P R E S I D E N T'S
Meeting the Changing Needs of
By Steve Dougherty North Metro Technical College President
`We are very proud of our responsiveness to the needs
of the job market in the
community around us.'
Steve Dougherty, North Metro Tech President
Responding to the dynamic job market in local communities is at the heart of the mission of Georgia's Technical College System. At North Metro Technical College, this focus has been demonstrated by the recent development of two new programs: Radiologic Technology and Home Technology Integration. Both of these programs resulted from our listening carefully to local business and industry leaders in the North Cobb, Bartow and Southwest Cherokee County communities.
A great illustration of the way we respond to local industry is the development of the Radiologic Technology program (for more on the program, see p. 14). We became aware of the need for this program in our community through Mark Haney, an executive for WellStar Health System who serves on our local board. Through Mr. Haney, we learned that WellStar was finding it difficult to hire enough people in this high-demand field who did not already live in the immediate area. We also heard from the CEO of Cartersville Medical Center, who also serves on our local board, that the demand for radiologic technicians is growing rapidly due in part to the changes in imaging technology. This rapidly developing technology is becoming relatively cheaper, and thus more widely used. At the same time, doctors are using imaging technology more frequently to diagnose and follow up on illnesses and injuries.
We saw the need, and we responded.
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AN ONGOING SERIES OF EDITORIALS BY THE PRESIDENTS OF GEORGIA'S TECHNICAL COLLEGES
RESULTS SPRING 2005 37
Continued from previous page
WellStar told us early in our discussions that creating a new, high-performance Radiologic Technology program was, in the words of one vice president, "a strategic imperative." WellStar was willing to help fund the program initially, but they wanted assurance
North Metro Technical College
that we would have students enrolled by January of 2004. We at North Metro Tech made it clear that we thrive on that kind of challenge from our business and industry partners. With a huge amount of teamwork between the technical college and the health care system personnel, we met the goal when we enrolled 25 highly qualified students in the program in January 2004.
But there were obstacles. One of the first was the lack of space on the North Metro Tech campus in Acworth. Fortunately, WellStar was able to provide a classroom and key pieces of equipment at one of their education and IT support facilities. In return, WellStar will have an excellent opportunity to hire most or all of the nearly 90 percent of the first class currently on track to graduate from the program and become radiologic technicians. Given WellStar's five hospitals and numerous clinics, this will be a big step forward for the system. This kind of collaboration has become a hallmark of Georgia's Technical College System.
Another good example is the Home Technology Integration program that we recently started at North Metro Tech. It originated a little differently but involved
the same kind of careful listening to the marketplace. North Metro Tech has long had an outstanding Electronics program that has primarily served manufacturing plants in the area. We have been proud to help a number of industries in the area become much more efficient through better training of their machine operators and industrial systems technicians. But, as those plants have become more efficient, there are also fewer people who need that kind of specialized training.
Meanwhile, we have become increasingly aware of a growing need for technicians who can help consumers make the array of electronic products in the home work, and work together. This is the kind of feedback we receive from the program advisory committees that serve every major program in every technical college. In the case of Electronics, our advisory committee made us aware that many consumers are seeking help with the myriad of home computer networks, phone systems, security devices, home theater components, satellite and cable systems, and other electronic "gizmos" that abound in today's market. Installing, configuring and maintaining these devices can be bewildering to the consumer unless he or she has a fairly extensive knowledge of electronics principles -- and, as you might expect, most don't.
Our Electronics faculty and advisory committee saw an opportunity to redirect some of their resources to serving consumers. Interestingly, I have personally had the experience of encountering one of our current Electronics students working in a local electronics store. I didn't know he was one of our students but was already impressed with his knowledge of the products about which I was asking when he noticed the North Metro Tech logo on my shirt. He said he was a student in this program and told me how much he was benefiting from it. So I can personally testify that this kind of listening to the community and responding to needs works!
We are very proud of our responsiveness to the needs of the job market in the community around North Metro Tech. As we go about our daily lives and interact with the community, it is very satisfying to hear from someone who has encountered one of our students or graduates as he or she received help in a medical facility, advice on new technology or quality customer service. That's how we know what we're doing is really working.
38 Department of Technical and Adult Education
Georgia's Technical College System
The Department of Technical and Adult Education and its constituent Technical Colleges do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, national or ethnic origin, gender, religion, disability, age, veteran status or citizenship status (except in those special circumstances permitted or mandated by law).
RESULTS SPRING 2005 39
GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF TECHNICAL AND ADULT EDUCATION
Albany Technical College Albany, Georgia Altamaha Technical College Jesup, Georgia Appalachian Technical College Jasper, Georgia Athens Technical College Athens, Georgia Atlanta Technical College Atlanta, Georgia Augusta Technical College Augusta, Georgia Central Georgia Technical College Macon, Georgia Chattahoochee Technical College Marietta, Georgia Columbus Technical College Columbus, Georgia Coosa Valley Technical College Rome, Georgia DeKalb Technical College Clarkston, Georgia East Central Technical College Fitzgerald, Georgia Flint River Technical College Thomaston, Georgia Georgia Aviation Technical College Eastman, Georgia Griffin Technical College Griffin, Georgia Gwinnett Technical College Lawrenceville, Georgia Heart of Georgia Technical College Dublin, Georgia Lanier Technical College Oakwood, Georgia Middle Georgia Technical College Warner Robins, Georgia Moultrie Technical College Moultrie, Georgia
North Georgia Technical College Clarkesville, Georgia North Metro Technical College Acworth, Georgia Northwestern Technical College Rock Spring, Georgia Ogeechee Technical College Statesboro, Georgia Okefenokee Technical College Waycross, Georgia Sandersville Technical College Sandersville, Georgia Savannah Technical College Savannah, Georgia South Georgia Technical College Americus, Georgia Southeastern Technical College Vidalia, Georgia Southwest Georgia Technical College Thomasville, Georgia Swainsboro Technical College Swainsboro, Georgia Valdosta Technical College Valdosta, Georgia West Central Technical College Waco, Georgia West Georgia Technical College LaGrange, Georgia
Bainbridge College Bainbridge, Georgia Clayton College and State University Morrow, Georgia Coastal Georgia Community College Brunswick, Georgia Dalton State College Dalton, Georgia Web-based courses of Georgia's technical colleges are accessed through the Georgia Virtual Technical College (GVTC), http://www.gvtc.org.