Central Georgia Technical College
Central Georgia Tech's origins date back to 1966, when the Macon Area Vocational-Technical School, operating under the leadership of Ben C. Brewton and under the governance of the Bibb County Board of Education, accepted its first students. The school relocated to its current, larger site in 1978, and its name was changed to Macon Technical Institute in 1987.
In 1989 Macon Tech became part of the newly formed Department of Technical and Adult Education (DTAE), and Melton Palmer became president. Palmer is credited with increasing the school's enrollment from less than 1,000 in 1989 to more than 6,000 in 2006 and with overseeing the school's overall expansion. During the 1990s the school expanded both its programs and its facilities: in 1990 it assumed governance of the Baldwin County Adult Center in Milledgeville; in 1991 the Aircraft Structural Technology program moved to the main campus; in 1993 the school offered its first associate degree program; in 1997 the Milledgeville satellite campus opened; and in 1998 it began the first Cisco Networking Academy program in the state of Georgia.
In 2000, due to legislation (Georgia House Bill 1187) that allowed technical institutes offering associate degrees to be called colleges, Macon Tech became Central Georgia Technical College to better reflect its seven-county service area. Expansion continued with the opening of the Putnam County Center in 2002 and the Crawford County Center in 2004. The main campus's College Center, home to the School of Arts and Science and the library, also opened in 2004. Palmer retired in August 2006 and was succeeded by Ronald D. Natale in February 2007.
According to the DTAE's 2005 annual report, 9,192 students were enrolled in certificate, diploma, or degree programs at Central Georgia Tech. An additional 8,693 students were enrolled in noncredit courses, and 4,504 students were enrolled in adult literacy programs offered in all of Central Georgia Tech's service delivery counties.
In 2007 the DTAE created the Technical College System of Georgia, an entity comprising the thirty-four colleges under its administration, and in 2008 the DTAE's name officially changed to TCSG.
Technical Education and Economic Development Programs
The TCSG, in overseeing the state's system of thirty-four technical colleges, its economic and workforce development programs, and its adult literacy program, has as its primary objective to create a well-educated, technically trained, and highly competitive workforce to ensure the economic success of the state and its citizens.
As with other technical colleges governed by the TCSG, admission to Central Georgia Tech relies on eligibility and academic criteria: candidates must be at least sixteen years old (seventeen for cosmetology and health technology programs) and must be high school graduates or possess a General Education Development (GED) diploma for admission to all degree programs and most diploma and certificate programs. Prior to graduation from Central Georgia Tech, all students must earn a high school diploma or GED. Once accepted, students can earn an associate degree, an expanded program of study that facilitates career mobility and continuing education at the baccalaureate level; a traditional diploma; or a technical certificate of credit, a short-term targeted program that prepares students for specific jobs.
Central Georgia Tech's response to local and national industry needs is partly responsible for the popularity and success of its degree, diploma, and technical certificate programs. Based on the number of graduates, two of the most popular programs in 2005 were automobile/automotive mechanics technology and medical/clinical assistant. With support from the automotive industry, Central Georgia Tech has been able to produce certified automotive technicians to fill the high demand for mechanics. In 2001 Bridgestone/Firestone donated money to fund scholarships for the program, and General Motors has donated as many as a dozen vehicles.
Medical Center of Central Georgia, one of the largest employers in Bibb County, provides financial support for Central Georgia Tech's orthopedic technology program, the Southeast's first nationally recognized orthopedic tech program and the first program of its kind in the state of Georgia. In response to a Georgia Heart Center expansion, Central Georgia Tech, with financial support from the heart center, recently implemented a cardiovascular technology program. The school's medical assisting graduates had a 100 percent pass rate consistently for thirteen years, which explains the local health industry's willingness to support the school's health training programs.
Additional partnerships forged with local industry include agreements through Quick Start, a nationally recognized program that develops training for new and existing industries in Georgia. In the late 1990s Quick Start's Certified Customer Service Specialist program helped provide a skilled workforce for insurance company GEICO's Macon location. The GEICO partnership with Quick Start and Central Georgia Tech developed into one of the longest running Quick Start training programs in the state. Bass Pro Shops, based in Springfield, Missouri, used Quick Start, with the help of Central Georgia Tech, to train about 400 employees for a new distribution center and retail store that opened in 2006 in north Bibb County. Also in 2006, the German textile company Freudenberg Texbond announced a $10 million expansion to its Macon-area plant. Quick Start and Central Georgia Tech partnered with the company to hire and train new workers.
Katherine K. Walden, "A Quiet Visionary at the Helm," Address Macon, November/December 2005.
Mary Downing Koon, New Georgia Encyclopedia
A project of the Georgia Humanities Council, in partnership with the University of Georgia Press, the University System of Georgia/GALILEO, and the Office of the Governor.