GNTC Receives Coveted Designations, Looks Forward To Signing Day

  • Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Since Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) capped 2023 with two prestigious national accreditations and one national designation, college officials are looking ahead to an event in April when high school students will commit to pursue a technical education.

Last fall, GNTC was named Georgia’s first National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3) Leadership School; NC3’s mission is to train and educate future skilled workers for productive careers.

This year will be GNTC’s first time to participate in the National Career and Technical Education (CTE) Letter of Intent Signing Day, which will be held on the Gordon County Campus in Calhoun.

GNTC will live stream the event on Thursday, April 18.

On signing day, high school students, parents, instructors and counselors, administrators, industry partners, potential employers and members of the community will gather at participating NC3 Leadership Schools to watch students sign their letters of commitment to pursue a technical education at the college of their choice after they finish high school.

“GNTC had been working with NC3 prior to the Leadership School designation. GNTC had already issued more than 800 NC3 credentials to its students at the time of the certification announcement,” said Jennifer Loudermilk, associate vice president of Academic Affairs at GNTC.

Approximately 13 GNTC faculty members have a combined total of 160 NC3 certifications, Loudermilk said. All GNTC program areas with applicable NC3 certifications are urged to participate.

“We are very proud of the faculty who are embracing the opportunity to add these certifications to GNTC programs and expand the nationally-recognized certifications available to GNTC students,” Loudermilk said.

NC3 certification is “nationally recognized as the standard for certifications and workforce development,” according to NC3’s website. Certifications can be used in workforce development and training, as well as fast track training. NC3 stackable certifications are designed to integrate into an existing technical program, stand-alone and/or be utilized for workforce development training.

According to NC3, its certifications can be used across various CTE program areas including aviation, construction science and energy efficiency, digital literacy, health and safety, horticulture, manufacturing, transportation and welding. NC3 certifications also include STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs.

Global industry partners partnering with NC3 include Snap-on Inc., Trane, Thermo King, 3M, Festo, Lincoln Electric, Greenlee, Copeland, RIDGID, Kubota Tractor Corporation, L.S. Starrett Company, Daniels Manufacturing Corporation, Palmer Hamilton, Tormach, Dremel, Swift and Certiport. 

In 2023, the Accreditation Commission of the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP) announced that it had granted accreditation for both the concurrent enrollment program (CEP) and College-Provided Faculty (CPF) model at GNTC.

GNTC is the third institution in Georgia and one of three in the nation to hold NACEP accreditation for both endorsements, according to www.nacep.org. There were 133 NACEP-accredited programs nationwide across 26 states upon last year’s accreditation announcement.

As the nation’s only accrediting body for these unique and impactful educational partnerships, NACEP’s standards serve as the model criteria for ensuring parity in faculty, course content, student outcomes and support. Receiving NACEP accreditation means an institution has met the nation’s most rigorous standard in concurrent enrollment program development, management and evaluation across multiple, multifaceted program areas, according to NACEP. 

In December 2023, Gov. Brian Kemp announced that the State Board of the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) approved more than $3 million to establish a new college and career academy named Walker LAUNCH in Walker County, which will serve Walker and Dade County students.

Walker LAUNCH College and Career Academy (CCA) is a partnership between Walker County Schools and GNTC.

“Since its inception in 2018, Walker County’s partnership with GNTC has been invaluable to Walker LAUNCH’s success,” Walker County Schools Superintendent Damon Raines said. “With the recent receipt of the CCA grant, the Walker LAUNCH College and Career Academy plans to add four pathways on GNTC’s Walker County Campus.” 

 The grant will allow Walker LAUNCH to open a teacher preparation pathway, as well as labs for mechatronics, culinary and healthcare, Raines explained. 

 “We hope to open the mechatronics lab for the 2024-25 school year,” Raines said. “The other labs will be added in succession, to open a new lab each year.  All of these new programs will be dual enrollment programs that allow students to earn Technical Certificates of Credit from GNTC.”

 Bonds in the amount of $3 million, along with $100,000 in cash, will help fund construction and support of the state-of-the-art facility that will help prepare students for the workforce, according to www.tcsg.edu. Building 500 on GNTC’s Walker County Campus (WCC) in Rock Spring will be renovated to house the new college and career academy.

The new college and career academy “symbolizes our unwavering dedication to providing our students with exceptional learning experiences that blend academic excellence with real-world skills,” said TCSG Commissioner Greg Dozier of the announcement. “Our focus remains steadfast on equipping students with the tools, knowledge and opportunities to thrive in a competitive global economy.”

The addition of Walker LAUNCH brings the total number of college and career academies in Georgia to 58, according to TCSG. College and career academies collaborate with business partners to ensure that curriculum and training provided closely align with industry needs to increase skill sets and employability of graduates.

Georgia Northwestern Technical College provides quality workforce education to the citizens of northwest Georgia. Students have the opportunity to earn an associate degree, diploma or a certificate in aviation, business, health, industrial or public service career paths. This past year, 11,601 people benefited from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs. GNTC has an annual credit enrollment of 8,071 students and an additional enrollment of 3,530 people through adult education, continuing education, business and industry training and Georgia Quick Start. For more information about GNTC, visit us at www.GNTC.edu. GNTC is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia and an Equal Opportunity Institution.

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