Lanier Technical College is located in Oakwood, a community in Hall County, and supports branch campuses in Barrow, Dawson, Forsyth, and Jackson counties. The college’s service delivery area also includes Banks, Lumpkin, and north Fulton counties. During World War II (1941-45), the poultry industry in Hall County began to grow, and as of 2006 major poultry producers Fieldale Farms, Mar-Jac Poultry, and Pilgrim’s Pride were among the county’s five largest employers. The health care industry is another major employer in the area. Based on the number of graduates, Lanier Tech’s nursing program was the most popular in 2005, followed by emergency medical technology and early childhood education and teaching. The college is part of the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG).
Lanier Tech began its first classes in temporary locations in the fall of 1966 under the directorship of John L. Lloyd. The following January, classes were moved to a new 47,000-square-foot building located on the school’s present-day main campus in Oakwood. John G. McCormick Jr. succeeded Lloyd as director in 1968. Campus facilities were expanded an additional 93,000 square feet between the mid-1970s and the mid-1990s. Kenneth Breeden served as president of the school from 1975 to 1984. He was succeeded in 1984 by Joe Hill. In 1988 Lanier Tech converted from local to state governance and came under the direction of the newly formed Department of Technical and Adult Education (DTAE). Breeden served as the first commissioner for DTAE.
The school’s first satellite campus opened in Forsyth County (in Cumming) in 1998. Due to legislation (Georgia House Bill 1187) that allowed technical institutes offering associate degrees to become colleges, Lanier Tech officially became Lanier Technical College in 2000. The college’s current president, Michael D. Moye, following interim president Stephen A. Deraney, was appointed in 2002. The Winder-Barrow campus (in Winder) opened that same year, and the Jackson campus (in Commerce) opened in 2003. The school’s newest addition, the Dawson campus (in Dawsonville), opened in 2005.
According to the DTAE’s 2005 annual report, 5,335 students were enrolled in certificate, diploma, or degree programs at Lanier Tech. An additional 6,183 students were enrolled in noncredit courses, and 848 students were enrolled in the college’s adult literacy program, which is one of the largest in the statewide technical college system.
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. Russell Vandiver was appointed president in 2010, followed by Ray Perren in 2013.
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 Lanier Tech relies on eligibility and academic criteria: candidates must be at least sixteen years old (older for some programs). All degree programs and some diploma and certificate programs require a General Education Development (GED) or high school diploma for admission. All students must receive a high school diploma or GED prior to graduation from a diploma program at Lanier Tech. If standards for a certain credit program are met, 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.
Popular programs at Lanier Tech with additional admission requirements include dental hygiene, practical nursing, and motorsports vehicle technology, a program begun in 2001 to address the need for skilled auto technicians in north Georgia’s booming motorsports industry. The program is competitive, and only a select group of students are admitted. Courses include car manufacturing and engine building. Upon graduation, students are qualified to work on the growing number of NASCAR and other racecar teams in the state and the nation.
Programs announced in 2007 at Lanier Tech include environmental horticulture, home technology services, and in partnership with Georgia Power Company, electrical utility technology. Lanier Tech is also home to one of the premier fire science technology/emergency medical technician programs in the state.
Economic development initiatives at Lanier Tech include the 2006 opening in Gainesville of the new Center of Innovation for Manufacturing Excellence, which offers training in advanced computer-integrated manufacturing. Another workforce development initiative is Lanier Tech’s ammonia refrigeration training program. Designed to teach proper procedures to refrigeration system operators, the program is particularly suited to assist the major poultry processing plants in Hall County and the surrounding area.
In response to the Hispanic influx to Georgia, Lanier Tech has partnered with tractor and rider-mower manufacturer Kubota to offer a course in modern manufacturing taught only in Spanish, and the school is also planning a Spanish language class in computer essentials. These courses are offered in addition to the school’s adult literacy classes, which served more than 7,000 students in 2005.