GTC's Gwinnett Advancement Program (GAP) Receives Funding Award from the Atlanta Regional Commission

June 27, 2013

GTC's Gwinnett Advancement Program (GAP) Receives Funding Award from the Atlanta Regional Commission
Gwinnett Tech program offers GED® test preparation and job skills for disadvantaged teens and young adults


The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) has granted Gwinnett Technical College a performance-based Youth Service Award for 2013-2014 in the amount of $420,000, providing continued funding for the college's Gwinnett Advancement Program (GAP), which offers GED® test preparation and job skills for disadvantaged teens and young adults.

The ARC has provided funding for GAP since the program's inception in 2007 through the Services to Youth as an Emerging Workforce grant.

Dr. Victoria Seals, vice president of Academic Affairs at Gwinnett Tech, said,  "We are delighted with the ARC's award which enables us to continue to support and advance the lives and futures of these young people and their families."

The Gwinnett Advancement Program is an intensive course for out-of-school, economically disadvantaged youth, ages 16-21. GAP educational programming offers GED® preparation classes through an integrated curriculum focusing on life skills, vocational skills, and employment and post-secondary education exploration.

"Our goal in the GAP program is to remove many of the common barriers to our students' employment and their education. We are able to provide financial assistance to participants – GED® payment vouchers, transportation and child care stipends, college application fees, book costs, tuition assistance, and more, in addition to academic and personal support," explains Brian Wren, GAP director.

Along with earning the GED® test credential, program participants can become Work Ready Certified through a job skills assessment system that measures real-world skills employers believe are critical to job success. Long-term education planning is critical for a career, and GAP has a college advisor that helps students navigate the steps necessary to apply to college, secure financial aid and register for classes. GAP also provides students with access to the COMPASS exam Accelerated Learning college entrance exam crash course.

"Gwinnet Tech's GAP is an effective workforce preparedness program, focused first on assisting older youth and young adults who've dropped out of school earn the GED® test credential. Just as importantly, and at the same time as they're working on GED® test preparation, they are receiving the skills needed to enter the workforce successfully. This often includes further, advanced education. Program results have been impressive," said James E. Radford, senior principal program specialist, Atlanta Regional Commission.

Since the program began in 2007, 366 students have enrolled in GAP.  Of that group, 238 students have earned the GED® test credential – 58 so far this year alone – by completing and passing all five parts of the test (reading, writing, science, social studies, and math). The students have a 99 percent first-attempt pass rate. An additional 25 students are in the process of GED testing, but have not yet taken all parts of the exam.

 Additionally, GAP has helped 158 students earn or upgrade their Work Ready Certification. Ninety-one (91) GAP students have applied for college, with 44 students enrolled in college courses and 19 set to begin at fall semester at Gwinnett Tech in August. Sixty-five (65) students have obtained their Forklift Certification through the program.  Among GAP students, 57 percent are 16-18 years of age, and 43 percent are 19-21.  Pregnant or parenting youth make up 22 percent of the program's population, and 51 percent of all students served by GAP have been Basic Skills Deficient (below a 9th grade level in the areas of reading, math, or both) when they began. 

To learn more about Gwinnett Tech's Gwinnett Advancement Program (GAP), call 678-226-6290 or visit

Gwinnett Tech offers more than 50 degree, diploma and certificate options that can be completed in two years or less. For more information, visit or call 770-962-7580.