Confetti cannons blasted and music and applause rang out as polished scissors sliced through the official satin ribbon at 2875 Old Milton Parkway. Today, Gwinnett Technical College, a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia, launched a new era of Education That Works in North Fulton County. Leaders from across the region gathered to celebrate the dedication of Gwinnett Tech’s new Alpharetta-North Fulton campus – a campus that delivers career-focused education for real-world jobs.
Dr. D. Glen Cannon, President of Gwinnett Technical College, thanked invited guests for being a part of “this historic day.” He stressed to the crowd that this event was about more than just dedicating a new building. He said, “You are dedicating dreams – dreams of high school students who started college early in our Move on When Ready program – dreams of first generation college students excited about our industry-centric focus. We are here today to dedicate dreams of ‘non-traditional’ students thrilled about the potential for a new career, a new lease of life. You are here, affirming the promise that we represent – the promise of delivering a high quality, sustainable workforce - the promise of high-quality affordable education.”
Cannon went on to thank a multitude of stakeholders involved in making the new campus a reality. It was just 363 days ago, on March 6, 2015 that the first shovel of dirt was turned at the groundbreaking. On January 6, 2016 the first student, Ben Gravitt, walked through the front door, with more than 700 fellow-students following him. Dr. Cannon shared, “This is great testimony to the power of vision and collaboration. It took many stakeholders across our community to make this day a reality. Today, we open up great opportunity and potential for many. Our commitment is to teach every individual and serve every business in this community.”
“This new campus is an exciting addition to Gwinnett Tech that opens all kinds of opportunities for the college and the students it serves,” said Gretchen Corbin, Commissioner of the Technical College System of Georgia. “It’s a great example of the ability of our technical colleges to be flexible to the needs of communities across the state, serving both the educational needs of students and the workforce needs of business and industry. I congratulate Dr. Cannon, the Gwinnett Technical College team and the community champions of this campus for their commitment and hard work to make this day happen. I also want to express our great appreciation to Governor Deal and the General Assembly for their support throughout the process.”
Throughout the dedication several key leaders shared their words of commendation and support:
- Deputy Commissioner Matt Arthur -Technical College System of Georgia
- Rep. Jan Jones, Speaker Pro-Tem, District 47 - Georgia House of Representatives
- Mayor David Belle Isle, City of Alpharetta
- Sen. Brandon Beach, District 21 – Georgia State Senate and President & CEO – Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce
With more than 900 technology companies located in North Fulton, the North Fulton Chamber has been steadfast in their support of Gwinnett Tech and this new campus. Senator Brandon Beach, President & CEO of the North Fulton Chamber said, “I want to thank Dr. Cannon, the Technical College System and my colleague Speaker Pro Tem Jones for their outstanding work to continue to develop North Fulton as an economic driver for the state.” Beach continued, “Gwinnett Tech has been a great influence on the workforce development of Georgia, which is the number one state to do business. It is my honor to be here as we build more space for Georgians to get an education that works for them, for business and the growth of our state economy.”
Alpharetta Mayor David Belle Isle is enthusiastic about Gwinnett Tech coming to the community. "The talent is here, but we have to be here for our talent. The Alpharetta campus of Gwinnett Tech will continue to be a critical tool to help the employees of Alpharetta and North Fulton meet the needs of the employers of Alpharetta and North Fulton. It is the best power we have to continue their progress so they can continue ours."
Gwinnett Tech has an impressive 98.7% job placement rate. Cannon stresses, “Workforce development is central to what we do at Gwinnett Tech. In this increasingly competitive world, our economic strength – North Fulton’s economic strength – depends on the skills and education of the workforce.” Harvard University predicts that by 2018, only 33% of all jobs will require a four-year degree. The overwhelming majority of jobs needed will be skilled jobs that require technical skills and training. Cannon pronounced, “2018 is practically tomorrow!”
Upon conclusion of the ceremony, guided tours were offered of the 95,000 square foot building. Featured stops included lecture halls, learning support computer classrooms, a Technology-Enabled Active Learning (TEAL) classroom, the Inpatient Simulation Clinical Lab, biology and chemistry labs, anatomy and physiology labs, as well as the Executive Conference Room. The state-of-the-art facility, designed by Wakefield Beasley, enables an exceptional, active learning environment. This building is the first of three planned for the Alpharetta-North Fulton campus. When all buildings are in place, it is anticipated the campus could serve up to 10,000 students.
The first program offerings at the new campus, decided in concert with North Fulton business and economic development leaders, include: Computer Sciences; Business (including Accounting, Logistics and Hotel, Restaurant & Tourism Management); Health and Life Sciences (including Bioscience and allied health programs); Education; Criminal Justice; and Early Childhood Care & Education. Overall, Gwinnett Technical College offers more than 150 degree, diploma and certificate program options that can be completed in two years or less. These programs are designed to offer a curriculum that provides both a theoretical frame of reference and practical skills to develop a strong workforce for generations to come.
About Gwinnett Tech
Gwinnett Technical College, one of Georgia's largest technical colleges, is committed to delivering relevant knowledge to meet the workforce training needs of its community. The College offers more than 150 associate degree, diploma and certificate programs and hundreds of seminars, workshops and courses providing specialized training. Gwinnett Tech is Gwinnett County's largest provider of corporate training and also serves residents and businesses in north Fulton County. Gwinnett Technical College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award the associate degree. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Gwinnett Technical College. In addition, some college programs hold separate licensure or accreditation status with appropriate agencies. For more information, visit www.GwinnettTech.edu. A unit of the Technical College System of Georgia.
About the Technical College System of Georgia
The 22 colleges of the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) are Georgia’s top resource for skilled workers. TCSG offers world-class training in 600 associate degree, diploma and certificate programs to students who are trained on state-of-the-art equipment by instructors who are experts in their fields. The system also houses Georgia’s Office of Adult Education, which promotes and provides adult literacy and education programs, including the GED® testing program, throughout the state. In addition, TCSG partners with companies through Quick Start, the nation’s top customized workforce training program, and through its individual colleges, who work with local industry to provide workforce and training solutions. For more information, visit www.TCSG.edu.
March 4, 2016