The first group of students to complete the Industrial Systems Technology program at the Whitfield Murray Campus of Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) was recognized at a celebration luncheon at the Northwest Georgia College and Career Academy (NWGCCA).
Leaders from the State of Georgia, City of Dalton, and business and industry attended the celebration.
Culinary students at NWGCCA catered the event.
Pete McDonald, president of Georgia Northwestern, said the occasion was an achievement for GNTC’s Whitfield Murray Campus as well as the graduating class.
“We started talking to business executives in this area about Georgia Northwestern having a presence in Whitfield and Murray counties and our Industrial Systems program was one of the most needed areas of study for students and for future employees here,” said McDonald. “We have five campuses presently and are about to undertake construction of our sixth location in Catoosa County, and this campus is growing 25 to 30 percent a year, which is faster than any of our other campuses.”
The program has a very strong relationship with local industry partners that is beneficial not only in the course curriculum, but also in the placement of students into careers upon graduation.
“You’ve made an investment in your time and effort and dedication, and today you’re seeing a return on that investment,” said Brian Cooksey, director of operations and development at Shaw Industries Group, Inc. “This is also a milestone for our community, because it’s a return on an investment in our community that is going to continue to pay dividends for many years to come.”
As part of this relationship, GNTC outfits its labs with the same equipment that is used in the local industry.
“There are facilities and equipment and assets that are available now on this campus that would not be available if the industry had not been so serious about making sure that you had the very best tools that would allow you to apply those skills in an environment that you would have at the workplace,” 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.
The Industrial Systems Technology program at GNTC prepares students to safely install, maintain, trouble shoot, and repair the various machines and equipment used in manufacturing and other industrial settings. The program provides students with the diagnostic skills needed to trouble shoot and repair industrial systems in several areas of industrial maintenance including electronics, industrial wiring, motors, controls, Programmable Logic Controllers, instrumentation, fluid power, mechanical, pumps and piping, and computers.
“My advancements in skill and knowledge have not gone unrewarded,” said Jordan Newton, student speaker for the celebration. “At age 27 I’ve become a master technician and my bosses have noticed the drive and confidence that this college has given me.”
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.