From the first day we opened our doors at Gwinnett Area Technical School in 1984, our goal has been to provide students with an education that leads directly to a rewarding career. Along the way, we've expanded program offerings, made two name changes, added many facilities and experienced record-setting enrollment growth. All are the result of our goal to be the recognized expert in career education, providing outstanding experiences for our students and a skilled workforce for employers.

In the 1980s, business and industry experienced a vast change in technology. To meet the demand for technological training, Gwinnett Tech expanded our offerings to include a wider variety of high-tech programs. In 1988, we changed our name to Gwinnett Technical Institute, aligning Gwinnett Tech with the network of state technical institutes under the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG).

The following year, TCSG approved Gwinnett Tech to grant the associate degree of applied technology (AAT) in six programming areas, which paved the way for our accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Gwinnett Tech gained accreditation in record time for a state technical institute, and was one of the first technical colleges to earn accreditation.

Gwinnett Tech reached another benchmark in our history on July 6, 2000, when we changed our name to Gwinnett Technical College to better reflect our role within the region's higher education market. The name change was made possible by Georgia's A+ Education Reform Act of 2000, which allowed technical institutes with proper accreditation to be designated as colleges.

Throughout our 30-year history, Gwinnett Tech has expanded to include a variety of new facilities. Key additions include the George Busbee International Center for Workforce Development, which opened in 2003, the D. Scott Hudgens, Jr. Early Education Center, which opened in 2006, and a state-of-the-art Life Sciences Center, which opened in 2011, serving 3,000 each year and enabling us to expand health science offerings.

Today, Gwinnett Tech offers nearly 150 associate (AAS) degrees, diplomas and certificates in 50 program areas and hundreds of continuing education seminars and workshops to improve job skills and provide specialized training. We're one of the state's largest technical colleges and serve more than 18,000 students annually through our credit programs, continuing education workshops and courses, and the adult education program.

We're now focused on the addition of a new campus in North Fulton, currently under construction at GA 400 and Old Milton Parkway. The first campus building on the 25-acre site will have three stories and approximately 95,000 square feet, housing both classrooms and administrative offices. Initial program offerings will be primarily concentrated in Information Technology and Health Sciences. It's anticipated that college credit classes will begin there in January 2016.