Making masks: West Georgia Tech staff member sews to support local hospitals

When the COVID-19 pandemic abruptly closed campuses, West Georgia Technical College Simulation Lab Specialist Renee Rawlins decided she could get to work sewing masks for local healthcare workers. Rawlins started sewing on March 22 with an initial goal of making 100 masks. Between ironing, cutting out, pinning, sewing, pleating and sewing again, each mask takes about 45 minutes to make from start to finish. Since beginning this project, Renee has sewn and distributed more than 320 masks, with more in the works.

“I have plenty of thread and fabric, but the supply of elastic is running low and hard to come by,” Rawlins said. “Karen Carpenter, a retired WGTC business instructor, has donated her stash of elastic, and a few friends have found elastic online and are having it shipped directly to me to help me keep going.”

With help from WGTC Practical Nursing Instructor Tara Alsobrook, Rawlins’s masks have been delivered to Tanner Medical Center-Carrollton, WellStar LaGrange, and Piedmont Newnan hospitals, all main clinical sites for WGTC’s nursing program. Rawlins specifically chose to donate the masks to these locations as a way of thanking them for their ongoing support of WGTC. Read more here.

TCSG colleges eligible for CARES Act funds

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress passed the CARES Act (H.R. 748) on March 27. President Trump signed the legislation into law that same day. In the law, money was appropriated to colleges through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) is the entity through which that funding flows. 

The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund contains approximately $12.56 billion to be distributed to institutions of higher learning across the country. The formula by which the department determined the allocations is as follows: 75% of the funding is based upon the number of full-time, in-person Pell Grant recipients at the college, and 25% of the funding is based upon the number of full-time, in-person students enrolled. In total, our colleges are eligible to apply for $67,717,360.

Within the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, there is a student portion and an institution portion that require distinct applications. A minimum of 50% of the total eligible funds must be distributed to students for the purpose of operational disruption due to the coronavirus. Specific eligible expenses include housing, food, healthcare, childcare, and course materials. Colleges will develop plans for distribution based upon guidance from U.S. DOE.

The institutional portion of the HEERF is for expenses related to changes in educational delivery due to COVID-19. Some examples include costs incurred in the process of shifting to a remote learning platform such as hardware, software, and other information technology expenses. The colleges may reimburse themselves for refunds distributed to students. Additionally, colleges may use these funds for student relief in concert with the criteria laid out in the student portion. There are a number of other restrictions and guidelines that are to be followed with directions from U.S. DOE.

The applications for these funds are due on September 30. All of our colleges either have applied or are in the process of doing so. Institutions have a year to spend down the money.

In addition to the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, the CARES Act included approximately $3 billion for the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund. As with the HEERF, the U.S. DOE is the agency responsible for allocation. Georgia is eligible to apply for $105,720,728. The purpose of these funds is largely at the discretion of the governor. However, they are to be used for secondary and postsecondary educational institutions. Governor Kemp’s office and the Office of Planning and Budget are planning to put forth an application to US DOE. We have been in touch with each of those offices and are actively putting together information to be submitted when the time comes.

TCSG colleges offers free online personal and professional development

In an effort to support our communities, business and industry, and individuals in this time of need, TCSG colleges are offering free access to several self-paced online, basic soft-skills courses that encompass a variety of topics useful in any work environment. The courses are made available by TCSG's Economic Division and GVTC. Free course topics include: business etiquette, customer service, job search skills, time management, workplace diversity, and others. As of April 30, more than 650 individuals had started a course and more than 200 had completed one. For more information, click here.

We are #TCSGtogether during the Coronavirus

The Technical College System of Georgia remains committed to faculty, students, staff and community. Check out this video compilation from colleges across the state.
Every four months, Albany Technical College publishes a college magazine called ACCESS. Albany Tech has a print shop on campus, but because of the COVID-19 situation, Albany Tech was not able to print the magazine. A digital version was sent out this month to faculty, staff, students, and the general public, to highlight great accomplishments and positive things at the college. Read the digital magazine here.
The Athens Technical College Drafting Technology Program and Library created masks and face shields using 3D printers and donated them to Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center. “We appreciate you answering our call for help,” said J. Michael Burnett, Chief Executive Officer of Piedmont Athens Regional, in a letter to Athens Tech President Dr. Andrea Daniel. “Your support had an immediate and much-needed impact on our team of doctors, nurses, and staff. Piedmont Athens Regional has truly felt the love of this community over the past several weeks. We are very grateful and truly honored to be your community hospital.” 
Atlanta Technical College hosted its Virtual Open House/Free Application Week starting on Monday, April 27. In addition to being treated to a pre-recorded video with wonderful details about how to become a new member of the ATC family, students were able to listen to each Dean from ATC's four academic programs. It's not too late for prospective students to apply for free. The free application week will be extended through June 1. Check out Atlanta Tech’s Virtual Open House by clicking here. 
Augusta Technical College is pleased to announce that Aviation Instructor Mr. Joseph Turner has been chosen as a Fellow in the 2020-2021 Governor’s Teaching Fellows Program. The Governor's Teaching Fellows Program was established in 1995 by Governor Zell Miller to provide Georgia's higher education faculty with expanded opportunities for developing important teaching skills. Throughout the academic year, Turner will participate in a combination of structured instructional and faculty development activities, as well as self-directed activities designed to meet individual needs. “I am excited and honored to be selected to such a prestigious program," stated Mr. Turner. "I hope to learn better techniques so that I can help my students become the best aircraft maintenance technicians possible. I believe in teamwork and the sharing of knowledge and experiences. I will know that I have succeeded as a teacher when my students aim higher and go further than me." Read more here.
The Central Georgia Technical College SkillsUSA Chapter recently earned recognition as a Level One Quality Chapter from the national organization’s Chapter Excellence Program. The award recognizes the CGTC Chapter’s commitment to a yearly plan of activities, scheduled meetings, and involvement in framework components of the organization. Read more here.
Physical Therapist Assistant Ashley Moore, who was in the first PTA graduating class at Chattahoochee Technical College 11 years ago, remains hard at work with her colleagues at a skilled nursing facility in Cobb County during the global COVID-19 pandemic. Moore graduated from Chattahoochee Tech in 2009 with a PTA Associate of Applied Science degree. She is working as a PTA for Aegis Therapies at Presbyterian Village in Austell. Serving with her as PTAs at this location are 2017 Chattahoochee Tech graduates Kelsie Odom and Kimberly DeLeon. Photo (L-R): Kelsey Odom, Kimberly DeLeon, Ashley Moore. Read more here.
The Coastal Pines Technical College Foundation recently awarded $500 scholarships to dual enrollment students Mason Simpson (Brantley County) and Rebecca Hendrix (Ware County). The scholarship is for tuition, fees, books, or supplies directly related to continuing the students’ programs at Coastal Pines Tech. The CPTC Foundation will be awarding several more dual enrollment scholarships over the next several weeks to help students continue their education at Coastal Pines.
Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, certain college programs have to use their imagination when it comes to recreating certain lessons. Columbus Technical College’s nursing program was scheduled to start clinicals this month, but now students are having a digital clinical experience. Instead of working in a hospital, students are simulating that experience with an online patient. Check out the WRBL-TV news story and video here.
The sudden closure of Georgia Northwestern Technical College’s campuses compelled most traditional and industrial instructors to reformat their courses to be taken by students online while the world struggles with the COVID-19 pandemic. “Although this adjustment has been challenging at times, I believe our faculty, staff, and students have embraced the undertaking and are doing exceptionally well during these extraordinary times,” Dr. Heidi Popham, president of GNTC said. “I cannot say enough good things about our faculty, especially those that have transitioned their courses from campus-based to 100 % online." Read more here.
Georgia Piedmont Technical College’s Economic Development Division is showing its commitment to its business and industry partners and the communities they serve in DeKalb, Newton, and Rockdale counties during the COVID-19 crisis. GPTC launched a series of five free webinars, in partnership with Georgia Power, which will focus on disaster mitigation strategies. For webinar dates and registration instructions, click here.
Gwinnett Technical College thanks all of the medical professionals leading the charge in the fight against COVID-19. For decades we've been preparing healthcare workers across our community for a time such as this. We are proud of our healthcare program graduates who have studied and trained for this very moment. Your willingness to serve and stand on the frontlines during this pandemic is nothing short of heroic. Gwinnett Tech stands with you. Check out Gwinnett Tech’s Healthcare Heroes webpage here.
Lanier Technical College is proud of our graduates on the frontlines of the COVID-19 fight. Nita Simons is in her first semester in the Emergency Management Program at Lanier Technical College, but she's already a proven emergency responder in the war on COVID-19 and other emergencies. Simons has over ten years of front line experience with Community Ambulance in Macon, where she has been a shift supervisor for seven years. Simons wants to learn how to preplan, manage, and respond to disasters to better help others. She is especially interested in learning how to coordinate mutual aid between first responder agencies and healthcare facilities when large evacuations are needed. Nita Simons is, and will continue to be, a frontline hero.
North Georgia Technical College is proud of the many instructors and staff members who have graciously given of their time to make masks for their community members and the COVID-19 frontline workers. One particular adjunct cosmetology faculty member from Blairsville, Tina Rice, has made more than 2,200 tie-dye masks and has shipped them across the world, including a large shipment to a Navy ship in the Pacific. It is her passion for bright colors and helping others that inspires her to create the masks in hopes to bring some joy to the many healthcare workers stuck inside hospitals or nursing homes. For more information on her creations, check out her Facebook page.
Oconee Fall Line Technical College instructor Lauren Poss will spend the upcoming academic year learning more ways to make her students successful. Poss, an English and learning support instructor, was selected for the 2020-21 Governor’s Teaching Fellows Program, an outreach of the Institute of Higher Education at the University of Georgia, established in 1995 by then-Governor Zell Miller, to provide Georgia’s higher education faculty with expanded opportunities to develop important teaching skills and to address the pressing need for faculty members to use emerging technologies and instructional tools that are becoming increasingly important for learning in today’s society. Read more here.  
Roughly every three days many of Ogeechee Technical College's paramedic and EMT students go out into the field to work as first responders. Instead of immediately entering homes, they have begun to administer health screenings at the doorway – wearing masks and gowns in addition to their usual protective gear. Chris Page, along with Instructors, Matthew Parr and Heather Reddick, are also continuing to pick up part-time shifts as first responders to play their role in helping to slow down the spread of the virus. Read more here.
Savannah Technical College has created a virtual admissions process for Adult Education including high school equivalency and English as a second language. As the first technical college in Georgia approved to offer this service, STC’s plan is being shared throughout the state as a model. “I am so proud of my team for making this possible for the community,” said Dr. Thomas Bullock, STC’s dean of adult education. “We have already been helping hundreds of students since this pandemic started. Now we can register and serve new students with the need and time right now. Read more here. 
South Georgia Technical College postponed its Spring 2020 graduation due to the Coronavirus. The SGTC Spring 2020 graduation was originally scheduled for Thursday, May 7 at 6 p.m. All Spring graduates will be invited to participate in a face-to-face graduation ceremony later in the year when restrictions are lifted. However, South Georgia Technical College would like to recognize its Spring 2020 graduates VIRTUALLY. South Georgia Tech will be hosting a Virtual Graduation video that will be available on the website and the college’s social media accounts. The audio portion of graduation will also air on the local radio station. Read more here. Here is the video announcement. 
Southeastern Technical College is proud to assist in the fight against COVID-19. Southeastern Tech Commercial Truck Driving Instructors Randy Ansley and Freddie McVey have stepped in to assist in the transport of personal protection equipment from the GEMA state hub in Kennesaw to a district distribution site in Jesup. Pictured is Randy Ansley after he returned from one of his recent trips.
The term “business as usual” has taken on a whole new meaning at Southern Crescent Technical College since March 13, when classes were transitioned to remote learning because of COVID-19. For many students, this has been an interesting transition. In many of SCTC's allied health programs, students continued their clinical rotations. The students chose to work during the pandemic by suiting up each day to continue to train alongside doctors and nurses in the local area. Read more here.
Southern Regional Technical College salutes clinical lab technicians around the world during Medical Laboratory Professionals Week, especially SRTC faculty, students, and alumni! Every day, clinical lab technicians join pathologists and clinical laboratory scientists in processing medical lab results. Now, the world’s lens is focused on lab techs and their teams as they work long and often thankless hours. Thank you for EVERYTHING you do, lab techs!
West Georgia Technical College is proud to join the effort against COVID-19. West Georgia Tech is transporting face shields manufactured at Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia (KMMG) to the Georgia Emergency Management Agency. KMMG is producing and donating the shields, and West Georgia Tech is providing a tractor-trailer and driver to deliver them. To date, KMMG has produced over 15,000 face shields.
Wiregrass Georgia Technical College was named among the top in the nation in the 2019 Collegiate Advertising program. The Collegiate Advertising Awards (CAA) is an elite program recognizing higher education organizations for excellence in communications, marketing, advertising, and promotions of their schools. Wiregrass’ Marketing and Public Relations team received a gold award for a series of four commercials titled, “It’s Time for Wiregrass,” under the TV/Video Advertising/PSA-Series. Read more here. Watch one of the commercials here.
Georgia Northwestern Technical College salutes healthcare students and graduates. 
Georgia Piedmont Technical College President Dr. Tavarez Holston “picked” up a new hobby during the COVID-19 quarantine by teaching himself how to play a guitar.
Savannah Technical College created a “We Train Heroes” social media and marketing campaign in response to COVID-19. Savannah Tech used students in the campaign to highlight healthcare and first responder training.