Ogeechee Tech’s first Georgia REACH scholar close to achieving logistics dream

Brian Phillips, the first REACH Scholar to pursue a degree from Ogeechee Technical College (OTC), is slated to earn his associate degree in logistics management next fall.

As a Bulloch County REACH Scholar, Phillips earned up to $10,000 in scholarship funds that he could use at any Georgia REACH eligible college or university. Of the 82 institutions listed as eligible in the state of Georgia, Phillips chose Ogeechee Tech. 

Phillips began his college journey at OTC as a dual enrollment student from Statesboro High School, planning to eventually pursue a degree in logistics. Phillips said he developed a passion for logistics early in life. “I’ve always had a knack for putting things together and working with my hands. I had the opportunity to take some logistics courses in high school and discovered I enjoyed it and was really good at it,” he explained.

In February of 2012, former Governor Nathan Deal launched REACH Georgia (Realizing Educational Achievement Can Happen) as Georgia’s first public-private, needs-based mentorship and scholarship program. The program exists to lend financial, academic and social support to ensure students graduate from high school and attain a college degree or certificate. 

In 2014, as a 7th grader at William James Middle School, Phillips was selected as one of Bulloch County’s five recipients. “In order to qualify for the scholarship, Brian had to meet several criteria including, attending a school in a participating school system, meeting citizenship and residency requirements, and demonstrating academic promise,” said Kristie Sanders, Director of Financial Aid at Ogeechee Tech. “He also had to make sure he maintained a certain grade point average and met with his REACH mentor twice a month, among other things,” she added.

Reflecting on his time as an OTC student, Phillips mentioned how much he has been impacted by the college and the REACH program. “Attending college has always been a dream of mine, and if it weren’t for the REACH program and the resources available to me at Ogeechee Tech, I would not be where I am today. I really enjoyed my time as a dual enrollment student and now enjoy taking courses online as a fulltime student of the college,” he said.

After earning his degree from Ogeechee Tech, Phillips plans to pursue his Bachelor of Business Administration in Supply Chain Management from Georgia Southern University. A logistics management articulation agreement signed in August 2019 between Ogeechee Tech and Georgia Southern will allow Phillips to seamlessly transfer his earned credit hours. He plans to one day leverage his education into a career at the Port of Savannah.

SkillsUSA names outstanding Career and Technical Educator 

The SkillsUSA National Board of Directors selected Dr. Penny Waddell from Gwinnett Technical College to receive one of its highest honors: the SkillsUSA Outstanding Career and Technical Educator Award. The award is in recognition of her years of dedicated service to the organization and the students we serve. Dr. Waddell began as an advisor for SkillsUSA at Gwinnett Technical College in 2011 and has been instrumental in the success of the chapter ever since. Her track record of medals earned at the State and National competitions speaks volumes to the invaluable leadership provided to her students. Dr. Waddell was recognized as the 2020 SkillsUSA Outstanding Career and Technical Educator in a virtual ceremony on Friday, June 26.
Albany Technical College is having a virtual graduation celebrating Spring 2020 graduates on Saturday, August 8 at 3 p.m. The video release will be on Facebook, Albany Tech’s YouTube Channel, and on Mediacom Channel 19 (ASU TV). Candidates for technical certificates of credit, diplomas, and/or associate degrees will be recognized for their accomplishments.

Athens Technical College would like to thank both our commercial truck driving program and police department for their work and assistance on delivering much needed supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic. Three times a week, they traveled to the National Stockpile to collect and deliver PPE for our community and northeast Georgia.
National footwear retailer Designer Shoe Warehouse (DSW) has joined the campaign to support Atlanta Technical College (ATC) students during these unprecedented times. DSW’s $25,000 donation will fund ATC’s Hank Aaron 755 Society—a student success fund established in February 2020 to provide gap funding and emergency financial assistance. Three months ago, ATC shifted to a digital learning environment as the global pandemic shut down states across the nation. The change from a classroom setting to an online platform created an additional challenge for many of ATC’s students. “The coronavirus was not just a health crisis, but, for many of our students, it also became a financial one that jeopardized their educational path,” said ATC President Dr. Victoria Seals. “Immediately following the closing of our campus, our phones started to ring with students sharing a range of financial needs after being laid off or furloughed from places of employment.”
They say good things come in threes. In the creative arts, the rule of thirds speaks to alignment in visual design, film, painting, and photography. There’s also the term three-dimensional -- meaning having or appearing to have length, breadth, and depth. And then there’s the O’Neal Family of Augusta, Georgia, with three members graduating from Augusta Technical College degree programs in 2020: Keyarda, Kenya, and Maria. Read more here.
The 2020 edition of the Central Georgia Technical College Foundation "Race for Education 5k and 1-Mile Fun Run" will take place virtually, just as many events will amid a global pandemic to ensure the safety of participants. The 11th-annual "Race for Education" benefiting Adult Education initiatives will take place over the week of September 7-12, in celebration of National Literacy Month. The race moves from its traditional post-Labor Day Saturday to accommodate a new and exciting virtual format.
Chattahoochee Technical College was highlighted for business and community leaders who gathered for the Paulding Chamber of Commerce 2020 Georgia Power Industry Appreciation Luncheon held Thursday, July 9, at New Season Church in Hiram. This event featured remarks by Chattahoochee Tech President Dr. Ron Newcomb and Chattahoochee Tech Vice President of Student Affairs Missy Cusack. “We need to remember that even in times like we’re experiencing now, what we do at the technical college is more important than ever,” said Dr. Newcomb. “We make sure that our students have the skills and knowledge necessary to go to work and build productive lives.” Cusack, an active member of the Paulding County community, served as the keynote speaker at this event. Read more here.
The Coastal Pines Technical College (CPTC) Camden campus is set to open for fall semester on August 24. The College broke ground on April 25, 2019 to begin building the 62,000 square-foot facility for the Camden County community. The new campus will be home to Adult Education classrooms and labs, as well as programs for business technology, criminal justice, cybersecurity, electronics technology, engineering technology, general education, health care assistant, industrial systems technology, naval maintenance apprentice, nurse aide, practical nursing, and welding and joining technology. In addition to these programs, CPTC will continue offering cosmetology at the College of Coastal Georgia, where Coastal Pines opened up a new cosmetology suite in April of 2017. Due to COVID-19, a grand opening will be scheduled at a later date. Read more here.
Columbus Technical College has the only appliance repair technology program in the state. WTVM-TV came to the Columbus Tech campus and featured the program in its “Business Break” segment. Watch the video here.
To assist in earning her second academic degree, Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) Aviation Maintenance Technology major Stephanie Tarbous received the $5,000 Delta Air Lines Aircraft Maintenance Technology Scholarship, which will pay for her education until she graduates next month. “The money is out there, you just have to apply for it,” said Tarbous, a resident of Rome. “You might think you don’t have a good enough story to receive a scholarship, but if you show passion for your field it really helps.” This is the fourth scholarship Tarbous has received during her time at GNTC. The money she receives makes it possible for her to focus solely on her second degree. Tarbous has a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Design from Philadelphia University, but after graduation she wanted to go specifically into the field of aviation. “I remember my dad taking me to the airfield when I was younger to watch the planes take off,” she said. “I loved watching them fly. Planes are so huge and powerful, but they have to be handled with great care.” Read more here.
New equipment in Georgia Piedmont Technical College’s (GPTC) opticianry program will provide even more extensive training for students to help future optical patients maximize their field of view in prescription lenses. GPTC Opticianry Program Director Lanard Atkins, LDO, worked with Coburn Technologies in July to install the new tracer, edger, and blocker equipment as a part of the program’s optical finishing laboratory redesign. The revamp will help form a better workflow process for students and help them maintain a safe distance while working in the lab. When they graduate, GPTC opticianry students will be eligible to take the Georgia State licensing examination and will have gained valuable employment skills by working in the lab and in the optical dispensary. "It is very appealing to our industry to have well-trained, future licensed opticians who understand the importance of being a professional by being knowledgeable and impactful,” said Atkins.
The mission of Gwinnett Technical College’s “Food for Thought” program is to aid Gwinnett Tech students’ educational success by alleviating the burden of food insecurity. The “Food for Thought” Food Pantry began in the fall of 2015. The pantry provides non-perishable food to students to satisfy immediate hunger and provide a list of community resources to help meet broader, long-term needs. During the holidays, they gave out food boxes and bags to sustain students during breaks. Student clubs, faculty, staff, and private industry have contributed to the 11 food drives by gifting food, gift cards, and monetary donations. During its first year, the pantry served 22 students, and in the 2019 academic year, they handed out food to 371 students. During the most recent food distribution on July 28, they assisted by handing out 97 food bags.  
The health information management technology program at Lanier Technical College recently announced its new CAHIIM (Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management) accreditation. With this accomplishment, students are now permitted to sit for their Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) credential, which is one of the most highly sought-after credentials in the world. When asked about this achievement, Annette Baker, HIMT Program Director and Instructor of the Year at Lanier Tech said, “I am grateful to attain accreditation for our program, because it enables our students to go as far and as fast as they choose in the field of Health Information Technology.  Lanier Technical College's leadership, faculty, and staff have all invested time and expertise to create another program of excellence that delivers value to our community and positively contribute to quality patient care.”
North Georgia Technical College (NGTC) celebrated several pinning ceremonies of practical nursing and medical assisting graduates last week on the Clarkesville, Currahee, and Blairsville campuses. Although each participant was able to invite one person to perform their personal pinning during the ceremony, all other guests were invited to watch the videotaped ceremonies that were edited and uploaded on the college's YouTube channel on the newly-designated "NGTC 2020 Pinning Celebration Day" on August 6. The college's social media provided sneak peeks of the pinnings to advertise "NGTC 2020 Pinning Celebration Day" for all the nursing families to watch and celebrate together. Pictured are the practical nursing graduates from the Currahee campus pinning ceremony on July 27.
After high school, Carly Hooks planned to become a dental hygienist. But something kept telling her it wasn’t what she needed to do. “I always thought I would work in the medical field, but I wasn’t exactly sure where I would fit into that kind of career,” she said. Unsure, Hooks watched as her sister began to thrive in the nursing program at Oconee Fall Line Technical College (OFTC). She decided to start there and figure the rest out later. “I only planned on attending classes at OFTC for one semester,” Hooks said. “But after just a few days in my first class, I knew I needed to stay at this college as long as I could. I could tell how much my instructors wanted me to learn the material, and that’s the best environment I could ask to be in to gain an education.” Read more here.
Ogeechee Technical College (OTC) computer information systems instructor Terry Hand recently earned his CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+) certification, which will allow OTC to increase their course offerings for the cybersecurity program in the fall. “The expansion of the cybersecurity program comes at a time where IT-related initiatives are taking place across the state,” Hand explained. “There is a big push to make Georgia the technology capital of the east coast and it is attracting technology-related business and industry to this area, creating more opportunity for our graduates.” Hand, who has been teaching at OTC since January 2003, completed his certification in June and is excited about the prospect of taking what he’s learned and applying it to the new courses he will be teaching. Read more here.
Savannah Technical College’s baking and pastry arts program includes a cake decorating course. The class final is a three-layer wedding cake that displays multiple advanced piping and decorating techniques. Students had less than 20 hours to complete the cakes during four class periods. Awards were given to the top academic chef’s cake and to the top-three cakes picked by a panel of community members.
The South Georgia Technical College medical assisting program was highlighted recently as the fourth-best program in Georgia by "Medical Assistant Advice". A total of 1,241 schools in the nation currently offer medical assisting education, and the rankings are based on academic quality, graduation rate, student-to-faculty ratio, net price, and student ratings and reviews. To learn more about the rankings visit MedicalAssistantAdvice.com. The ranking for the fourth-best medical assisting program in Georgia comes on the heels of South Georgia Technical College earning the top spot as the "Best Community College in Georgia" for 2020. That ranking was received by Niche.
The Southeastern Technical College (STC) Foundation would like to thank the George W. Strickland, Jr. Foundation, Inc. for their generous support of Southeastern Technical College’s Associate Degree in Nursing Program. Because of their financial support, STC is able to accept eight additional students into the program each year.
With the recent close of the legislative session, it was announced that $6.7 million in bond financing in Georgia’s 2021 fiscal year budget would be directed for the site acquisition, design, and construction of the Center for Education and Entrepreneurship at the Southern Crescent Technical College Henry County Center in McDonough. The Center for Education and Entrepreneurship will provide small business and entrepreneurial training opportunities for students attending classes at the Southern Crescent Technical College Henry County Center. Southern Crescent Tech intends to increase program offerings and student support services at the Henry County Center by renovating the abandoned 26,000 square-foot Lakemont Chattels Shopping Center property, located at the corner of Lakemont Drive and GA Highway 81. Read more here.
On July 28, Southern Regional Technical College (SRTC) held their first ever drive-through pinning ceremony during which twenty-four Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) students from the LPN to RN Bridge program received their nursing pins. The ceremony commemorates the students’ successful completion of their nursing coursework and clinical rotations. This class of nursing students are also invited to participate in SRTC’s formal graduation ceremony on December 1 and will officially be registered nurses, pending the passage of their board exams. These prospective nurses represent the nursing bridge program of the SRTC Moultrie campus.
The West Georgia Technical College (WGTC) Foundation has received a $25,000 grant from the Tides Foundation, on the recommendation of Google Data Centers Grants Fund, to support its Project CARE program. Project CARE, funded by the WGTC Foundation, was created in 2009 to provide financial assistance and food pantry assistance to students and employees of West Georgia Technical College who are in need. The program receives applications, with stories like the one below, for assistance regarding situations including homelessness, food insecurity, job loss, health crisis, loss of loved ones, and most recently, COVID-19 relief. Read more here.
Wiregrass Georgia Technical College President Dr. Tina K. Anderson proudly announces DeAnnia Clements as the college’s new Vice President for Academic Affairs. With over 20 years of experience in the Technical College System of Georgia, DeAnnia brings a vast knowledge to her new position. Her career in technical education started as an adjunct instructor for South Georgia Technical College in 1999. She would later become a computer information systems Instructor for East Central Technical College that later merged to become Wiregrass Tech in 2010. Over the years, DeAnnia advanced in her position, becoming Dean over two areas for the college, Professional Services, and later Allied Health. In recent years, she has worked as the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs. “I am excited to have DeAnnia in this new role as Vice President. She is well-respected among her peers and has years of invaluable experience in academic affairs,” said Wiregrass Georgia Technical College President Dr. Tina K. Anderson. “Her dedication to technical education will benefit our students for many years to come.”  
Georgia Northwestern Technical College recently updated its virtual tour to include the expansion of the Whitfield Murray Campus. The tour gives users a 360-degree panoramic view of the different labs and facilities that each campus has to offer, and can be viewed with a computer, mobile device, or virtual reality headset. The virtual tour also features program videos for select academic programs.