South Georgia Technical College is located in Americus, the seat of Sumter County, in southwest Georgia. A satellite campus in Crisp County (in Cordele), together with the main campus, provides education and employment training to the college’s six-county service delivery area, which includes Crisp, Macon, Marion, Schley, Sumter, and Webster counties. South Georgia Tech is a member of the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG).
South Georgia Tech is often associated with the field of aviation—a one-third-sized replica of Lockheed Martin’s F-22 Raptor fighter jet is attached to the school’s entrance sign, and the college’s grounds rest on part of Souther Field, where Charles Lindbergh made his first solo flight. The most popular program at the school in 2005, based on the number of graduates, was accounting technology, followed by secretarial science. As of 2007 South Georgia Tech was one of only two technical colleges in the state to offer on-campus housing and the only technical college in the state to offer intercollegiate athletics.
South Georgia Trade and Vocational School opened in 1948 under the directorship of Jed B. Yingling and offered programs in aircraft mechanics, auto mechanics, cabinet making, diesel mechanics, radio and television repair, and upholstery refinishing. It was the second vocational school in Georgia. Horace P. Odom succeeded Yingling as director in 1950. In 1963 the school became known as South Georgia Technical and Vocational School, and in 1967 Hugh Ford Hayes became director, followed by Dea O. Pounders in 1970. In 1988 the school came under the governance of the newly formed Department of Technical and Adult Education (DTAE) and at that time became known as South Georgia Technical Institute.
South Georgia Tech opened the Crisp County Center, its satellite campus in Cordele, in 1990. Jon E. Johnson was appointed president of the school in 1996. In 2000, due to legislation (Georgia House Bill 1187) that allowed technical institutes offering associate degrees to be called colleges, South Georgia Tech officially acquired the name South Georgia Technical College. The college’s men’s basketball team, the Jets, was established in 2001, followed by the women’s team, the Lady Jets, in 2004. Sparky Reeves, the college’s current president, was appointed in 2004.
According to the DTAE’s 2005 annual report, 2,727 students were enrolled in certificate, diploma, or degree programs. An additional 1,929 students were enrolled in noncredit courses at South Georgia Tech, and 1,382 students were enrolled in the college’s adult literacy programs, which are offered in all six 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 South Georgia Tech relies on eligibility and academic criteria: candidates must be at least sixteen years old (older for some programs). A high school diploma or General Education Development (GED) diploma is required for entry into most programs. All students, however, must earn a high school or GED diploma prior to graduating from South Georgia Tech. If these requirements 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.
In addition to accounting technology and secretarial science, South Georgia Tech’s credit programs include aerospace, criminal justice, culinary arts, and welding, among others. The college was chosen in 2005 as a site for the NASA Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Aerospace Academy Education Laboratory, which is located in South Georgia Tech’s Griffin B. Bell Aerospace Technology Center, named for former U.S. attorney general Griffin Bell. That same year the college implemented an introductory course in underwater welding, designed as a preliminary to certification in the technique at a specialized school. In 2006 South Georgia Tech exhibited its culinary program at the first annual “Taste of the Technical Colleges,” an event that showcases valued programs in technical education.
South Georgia Tech’s economic development programs include certified specialists programs (in customer service, electrical linework, manufacturing, and supervisory management), customized job training, and a business expansion center. In partnerships with Quick Start, a nationally recognized program that develops training for new and existing industries in Georgia, South Georgia Tech provides training for such area businesses as Lockheed Martin and STI Knowledge.
South Georgia Tech also participates in dual enrollment programs with local high schools. High school students eager to get a head start on their careers can attend courses at the college and receive both high school and college credit. Participants can choose to earn a technical certificate of credit and move directly into the job market, to continue their technical education at South Georgia Tech or another technical college, or to attend a four-year university.