Students to the rescue -- how one class is rescuing their forest classroom

When Dr. Jeremy Green took the helm of Southern Regional Technical College (SRTC) – Thomasville’s Land, Forest, and Wildlife (LFW) Management program in 2019, the program was in great shape. Situated in the nature-lover’s paradise of the Red Hills, the program was building robust partnerships with local hunting plantations, nature preserves, and state agencies in South Georgia and North Florida. All the while, LFW Management consistently put up impressive enrollment, graduation, and job placement numbers. The campus’s 30-acre forest classroom, however, was in need of attention. The thickly wooded outdoor learning lab had become choked by understory overgrowth, pests, and deadfall from recent hurricanes. A few weed-tangled paths wound through the dim forest, but most of the woodland was too congested to allow for a decent line-of-sight, much less scientific study of native wildlife.

In the autumn of 2019, Dr. Green and LFW students took part in a Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Quail Covey census at the nearby River Creek Wildlife Management Area, but they ended the early morning count without hearing the bobwhite quail’s namesake call even once. The quail were not only missing from River Creek. Georgia’s quail population has declined in the state by more than 85% since the 1960s, due in large part to the loss of the kind of habitats that support a healthy wild quail population. Restoring healthy native habitats across Georgia’s landscape benefits quail, numerous songbirds, rabbits, wild turkey, deer and many other wildlife species, according to the Georgia DNR. Read more. Watch the video.

TCSG announces three new College and Career Academies

Governor Brian P. Kemp joined the state board of the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) to announce approved grants totaling $9 million in bond funds to establish new College and Career Academies in Appling, Evans, and Union Counties. TCSG Commissioner Greg Dozier will award three partnerships with grant funds to establish the new College and Career Academies in the cumulative bond amount of $9 million ($3 million to each) and the cumulative cash amount of $225,000 ($75,000 to each).

“Georgia’s workforce is second to none, thanks in large part to the hard work of Commissioner Dozier and his team at our Technical College System and College and Career Academies,” said Governor Kemp. “Businesses from around the world know when they invest in the Peach State, they will find a readily available workforce to meet their needs. These new College and Career Academies will serve to expand our workforce development efforts in more communities in Georgia and lead to more opportunities for hardworking Georgians and their families.”

Three of Georgia’s technical colleges will partner with local education systems to establish the academies. Coastal Pines Technical College will partner with Appling County Schools to establish the Appling Regional College and Career Academy, Ogeechee Technical College will partner with Evans County Schools to establish the Evans Regional College and Career Academy, and North Georgia Technical College will partner with Union County Schools to establish the Union County College and Career Academy.

“The addition of these three College and Career Academies in Georgia means we are providing more students with learning opportunities that link directly to workforce needs,” said TCSG Commissioner Greg Dozier. “More high school students will experience an education that connects the classroom to a career through valuable partnerships made with local industry.”

The addition of these two will bring the number of College and Career Academies in Georgia to 52. More than 38,000 students are already enrolled in College and Career Academies throughout the state.
Albany Technical College signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Pathways Program agreement with Lees-McRae College last month. The virtual signing was held in the Logistics Education Center boardroom at Albany Tech and also on the main campus of Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, N.C. The MOU between the two colleges established a Guaranteed Admission Program (GAP) for all Albany Technical college graduates who meet specific academic requirements to transfer and complete a bachelor's degree at Lees-McRae College. Lees-McRae is the 15th pathway agreement between Albany Technical College and other colleges.
The Athens Technical College Police Department conducted training in collaboration with Monroe Police Department in response to active shooter incidents on the Walton Campus. Sgt. Matt Dembowski with the Monroe Police Training Unit and Lt. John Webster with Walton County Fire & Rescue instructed officers in current operational doctrines related to neutralizing active shooter threats and performing combat first aid. “Stop the Bleed” training prepares Officers to apply tourniquets with one hand and perform other life saving techniques to stop blood loss. Read more.
For more than 20 years, there has been an exchange program between Atlanta Technical College (ATC) and Felix-Fechenbach-Berufskolleg (FFB), a technical college in Detmold, Germany. Due to the impact of the Coronavirus, ATC would have been unable to finance a trip to Germany for its students and faculty. The Joachim Herz Foundation, located in Hamburg, Germany, stepped up and provided additional funding in the amount of 10,000 euros to secure a visit for eight ATC students and two faculty members in the coming year. “Transatlantic relationships thrive on mutual understanding. Especially in these trying times, we would like to help meaningful and proven links like this long-standing exchange go on,” stated Dr. Henneke Lütgerath, Chairman of the Board of the Joachim Herz Foundation.
Savannah River Remediation (SRR), the liquid waste contractor at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site (SRS), recently presented a $5,000 donation to Augusta Technical College (ATC) to help fund scholarships for the General Education Development (GED) diploma program. ATC offers GED classes through the Adult Education Program. SRR is a team of companies led by Amentum with partners Bechtel National, Jacobs, and BWX Technologies, Inc. Critical subcontractors for the contract are Orano, Atkins, and Amentum N&E Technical Services.
A new initiative to help nurses re-enter the healthcare industry is set to begin in January through the Economic Development Division of Central Georgia Technical College. As nurses continue to be in high demand and unprecedented healthcare challenges await, the Technical College System of Georgia, with the support of the Georgia Board of Nursing, developed two pathways to re-enter the nursing field in Georgia, one for Registered Nurses and one for Practical Nurses. Read more.
Chattahoochee Technical College celebrated its graduates with a drive-thru graduation ceremony held on Dec. 17 at the North Metro Campus in Acworth. Nearly 200 of the college’s 640 fall semester 2020 graduates participated in the ceremony, which was held outdoors because of health and safety concerns associated with the Coronavirus pandemic. The drive-thru graduation ceremony involved a parade of cars through the center of campus. Each graduate had a turn to exit their vehicle before a crowd of cheering Chattahoochee Tech faculty and staff, all of whom were socially distanced and wearing face masks. Each graduate walked down a red carpet as their names were announced and posed for a photo with Chattahoochee Tech President Dr. Ron Newcomb.
The Satilla REMC Foundation donated $10,000 to the Coastal Pines Technical College Foundation. Their donation will be used toward scholarships for the Electrical Lineworker Program. The funds will be used to directly support the students and their costs associated with the program, including tuition, books, and supplies. They made another $10,000 donation to the general scholarship fund as well. This donation will help any student at Coastal Pines who needs additional financial assistance with tuition, fees, and books. “As a result of donations by generous community partners like Satilla REMC, Coastal Pines Technical College is able to assist our students financially while they are training for high-demand careers,” said Coastal Pines Technical College President Dr. Glenn Deibert. 
January 11 marked the first day of a special course conducted by the Columbus Technical College Adult Education division and other community partners. The new community project known as “Truth Spring Trade School” began its first day of class in the Fox Community Center in Columbus. After a brief kick-off ceremony, 20 residents of Columbus’ North Highland community will take the first step into a full year of training and job-readiness education. Read more.
Just back from Cape Canaveral, Fla., where he will soon be working as an Integration Technician for SpaceX, Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) graduate Palmer Moye dropped in on the GNTC Aviation Training Center for one last visit. Through the GNTC Aviation Maintenance Technology program, Moye studied a combined airframe and power plant curriculum, mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration. According to Jon Byrd, program director and instructor of Aviation Maintenance Technology, the technical skills students like Moye learn at GNTC can be applied across the aerospace field.  Read more.
Georgia Piedmont Technical College’s (GPTC) healthcare-focused students can now take their careers further with a bachelor's degree in long-term care management through a new partnership with Georgia Southwestern State University. Officials from both institutions penned the agreement recently to help GPTC's associate-level degree graduates pursue the advanced degree, which is designed to arm healthcare professionals with managerial, budgetary, and communication skills critical to the health management field. Graduates will be fully prepared to oversee the care of residents in an institutional setting and to assist patients and their families in connecting with community resources and in the transition from hospital to home. Read more.
For 25 years, the Gwinnett Tech Foundation has played a vital role in supporting student success at Gwinnett Technical College. Today, the need is greater than ever before. The Gwinnett Tech Opportunity Fund was created to provide resources to students facing hardships caused by COVID-19. Without assistance, many students will have to make the difficult decision of postponing their education. With our Foundation board's generosity, private donors and others, the Gwinnett Tech Opportunity Fund raised over $98,000 to assist more than 200 students this fall.
Lanier Technical College’s Radiologic Technology Program is a rigorous 17-month, four-semester program. In the midst of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the class of 2020 rose to the challenge of completing their coursework and clinical assignments as scheduled. With limited availability of testing sites offering the ARRT national registry, many students tested out of state to become a Registered Technologist (R. T.) and earn their credential as radiographers, R. T. (R). For the Radiologic Technology Class of 2020, 94% have taken and passed their respective registries and 70% of those have secured jobs and begun working as RTs. One student is awaiting a test date, while the remaining RTs are awaiting offers as reference checks are being completed.  
North Georgia Technical College (NGTC) CNC instructor Derrick Hogan has been busy producing several CNC instructional videos for, a forum that connects people with a passion for metalworking. “Practical Machinist” is the most-visited site for metalworking professionals and provides an easy technology forum to learn new techniques, get answers quickly, and discuss common challenges with peers. Last year alone, the website received more than 10.6 million unique visitors. Derrick has introduced NGTC to this large network of CNC professionals and continues to film new instructional videos in his time outside of the classroom. His latest video "CNC Machining versus Manual Machining" features the beautiful and spacious 10,000 square foot CNC lab inside NGTC's Industrial Technology Center on the Clarkesville campus. Watch the video.
When Brianna Carey enrolled in Oconee Fall Line Technical College’s (OFTC) Respiratory Therapy program, her motivation was to provide for her three sons. She’d been a stay-at-home mom for fifteen years, but a recent divorce left her in need of a career. “What am I going to do now?” she asked herself. Hardworking, dependable, strong, and smart – these were characteristics Carey knew she had, but she needed education and training to translate it into a way to support her family. She was interested in the healthcare field and when she saw OFTC was close to home and offered a Respiratory Therapy program, “the pieces fell into place,” she said. Read more.
Ogeechee Technical College (OTC) hosted ten hand-selected individuals to pilot a program geared toward attaining a Microsoft Azure Fundamentals certification. Working closely with Microsoft and the Technical College System of Georgia, OTC instructor Terry Hand agreed to host the Microsoft Azure training, a cloud-computing service created by Microsoft, to help assess the program. “Microsoft Azure is a cloud-computing service created by Microsoft for building, testing, and deploying applications or services through Microsoft managed data centers,” explained Hand. Read more.
Savannah Technical College is one of five sites in Chatham County with Veteran Service Officers (VSO) that help wounded warriors with disability claims. The new site is located in the Veterans Service Center at the Savannah Campus. The volunteer VSOs help veterans in all service branches with both in-person and virtual sessions. They specialize in disability claims, using their expertise to help veterans navigate the system. VSOs are required to go through extensive training at their own expense to understand the disability regulations and guide other veterans. One of the volunteers is the 2014 Chatham County Veteran of the Year Frank Mullis, a Vietnam wounded warrior who has been assisting veterans for nearly 15 years.
South Georgia Technical College is offering a Fire and Emergency Services Occupation Associate Degree program for students interested in entry level employment in the public safety areas of fire science and emergency medical services beginning Spring Semester 2021. Students enrolling in this program may be eligible for the Hope Scholarship, Hope Grant, and Federal Pell Grant. Prior learning credit may be awarded to students who have already completed the Basic Firefighter and EMT courses. “This is a tremendous opportunity for individuals interested in working with a fire department or in the Emergency Medical Services field,” said South Georgia Technical College President Dr. John Watford. “These two fields are interrelated and now our students have the opportunity to apply for jobs in either or both career areas. Job growth in these two areas is expected to rise six percent or greater over the next few years.” Read more.
Southeastern Technical College (STC) recently held a virtual graduation for all of its 2020 graduates. “It is truly remarkable that so many showed the fortitude and tenacity to complete their programs under the most challenging circumstances imaginable,” said STC President Larry Calhoun. “They will all have some great stories to tell their children and grandchildren. While I missed the opportunity to express my gratitude in person to our graduates and faculty and staff, I am grateful, proud, and encouraged to be able to continue doing what we do.” A list of all 2020 Southeastern Tech graduates is displayed at the conclusion of the ceremony. Watch the video.
Southern Crescent Technical College (SCTC) is helping students get better connected to technology with the addition of eight new Wi-Fi hotspots recently installed throughout each campus location. These new access points allow the Wi-Fi signal to easily reach into the parking lots so students can connect to the internet to log into online classes or complete assignments. “With some of our students living in rural communities, internet access can sometimes be a challenge,” said Southern Crescent Technical College President Dr. Alvetta Thomas. “The addition of multiple new Wi-Fi hotspots throughout the College footprint will provide our students with the access they need to complete their studies. We understand the difficulties and challenges that this pandemic has brought on our students and we hope this will be one less hurdle for our students to overcome.”
Southern Regional Technical College (SRTC) President Jim Glass recently announced former state representative Amy Carter as Special Assistant to the President. In her role at SRTC, Carter will work to strengthen the College’s collaborations with business and industry partners in Southwest Georgia. Though her notable career has taken her all over the state in service to the people of Georgia, her roots in technical and public education have kept education on her mind. “Amy’s vast experience in education and economic development will prove invaluable to our college as we support business and industry throughout South Georgia,” said President Glass. “I am extremely happy that Amy has joined our team and look forward to seeing the impact she will have as we fulfill our mission of workforce development.” Read more.
The new Carroll Campus of West Georgia Technical College (WGTC) received a $250,000 boost thanks to the Gene Haas Foundation. The grant will be used toward construction of the Gene Haas Precision Machining and Manufacturing Lab, named for the founder and owner of Hass Automation, Inc., America’s leading builder of computer numerical control machine tools. “On behalf of the West Georgia Technical College Foundation, we are deeply humbled by the generosity of the Gene Haas Foundation with this lead gift at the new Carroll Campus,” WGTC Foundation President Greg Wright said. The lab will be located in the Technical & Industrial Building on the College’s new Carroll Campus under construction now in the Buffalo Creek Technology Park just off the Carrollton bypass. Read more.
Walmart Transportation made a $50,000 donation to assist with the expansion of the Diesel Truck Maintenance program at Wiregrass Georgia Technical College. In response to the generous donation, the college has named a classroom the “Walmart Diesel Technology Lab”. Walmart General Transportation Manager Bill Sleeth shared, “The industry is down 60,000 drivers right now. If current trends continue within eight years, there will be a shortage of 160,000 drivers. The industry is seeing similar shortfalls with qualified Diesel Technicians. The economy as a whole depends heavily on the transportation industry. A shortage in drivers and technicians can hurt Walmart’s business and this is why Walmart Transportation is investing in the Diesel Truck Maintenance program at Wiregrass.” Read more.
In December, Georgia Northwestern Technical College held a special Drive-Thru Commencement Ceremony at the Whitfield Murray Campus in Dalton to celebrate their Fall 2020 graduates.