Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) commemorated the first class to complete the new Fast Track Maintenance Skills Immersion Program – a new 10-week training program that provides fast, intensive instruction to prepare technicians for employment in the flooring industry in Northwest Georgia.
Friends and family, business and industry leaders, and representatives of the State of Georgia and City of Dalton attended the celebration at the Northwest Georgia College and Career Academy in Dalton.
The celebration recognized the first class and each participant received a Certificate of Completion. The program was developed at the request of industry leaders in the Dalton area.
“It’s an opportunity to provide an upgrade in skills and provision of skills to meet the needs that are currently not available in the quantity in our workforce that we require,” said Joe Yarbrough, chairman of the State Board of the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) and senior vice president of advanced manufacturing at Mohawk Industries. “Also this will hopefully encourage those who are successful with the program to continue to develop further skills through the more traditional pathways that we have in the technical college system.”
The program was developed and implemented by the Northwest Georgia Regional Commission, GNTC, the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development, The Dalton Chamber of Commerce, the Georgia Department of Labor, and carpet industry leaders from the Northwest Georgia region. Partner companies include Beaulieu of America; Engineered Floors, LLC; J+J Flooring Group; Mohawk Industries; and Shaw Industries Group, Inc. The program provides the necessary training for participants to qualify for employment with the partner companies.
“Mechanics and electricians are two skill sets that we all need more of, especially within any type of advanced manufacturing,” said Brian Anderson, president and CEO of the Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce.
The program included hands-on instruction, classroom teaching, computer-based learning, and lab instruction at GNTC’s Whitfield Murray Campus. Participants attended training 40 hours a week for a total of 400 hours upon completion.
“All of these jobs that are going to be available are well paying jobs,” said Chris Upchurch, career center manager at the Georgia Department of Labor. “It’s also teaching participants new skills and abilities that will be with participants for the rest of their lives.”
The program is funded by a grant from the State of Georgia and is targeted at unemployed and underemployed individuals.
“The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) and the State of Georgia was able to develop a special innovative grant to fund this fast training,” said Sarah Harrison, workforce development coordinator for the Northwest Georgia Regional Commission. “Everybody worked together to design this very intensive, quick training. There is nothing else like it.”
Georgia Northwestern Technical College serves Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade, Floyd, Gordon, Murray, Polk, Walker, and Whitfield counties in Georgia with campuses located in Floyd, Gordon, Polk, Walker, and Whitfield counties. Approximately 16,000 people benefit from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs, making it the largest college in Northwest Georgia and the fourth largest technical college in Georgia.